Publications by authors named "David J Drasin"

5 Publications

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The Six1 oncoprotein downregulates p53 via concomitant regulation of RPL26 and microRNA-27a-3p.

Nat Commun 2015 Dec 21;6:10077. Epub 2015 Dec 21.

Program in Molecular Biology, University of Colorado, Denver, Anschutz Medical Campus, 12800 East 19th Avenue, Aurora, Colorado 80045, USA.

TP53 is mutated in 50% of all cancers, and its function is often compromised in cancers where it is not mutated. Here we demonstrate that the pro-tumorigenic/metastatic Six1 homeoprotein decreases p53 levels through a mechanism that does not involve the negative regulator of p53, MDM2. Instead, Six1 regulates p53 via a dual mechanism involving upregulation of microRNA-27a and downregulation of ribosomal protein L26 (RPL26). Mutation analysis confirms that RPL26 inhibits miR-27a binding and prevents microRNA-mediated downregulation of p53. The clinical relevance of this interaction is underscored by the finding that Six1 expression strongly correlates with decreased RPL26 across numerous tumour types. Importantly, we find that Six1 expression leads to marked resistance to therapies targeting the p53-MDM2 interaction. Thus, we identify a competitive mechanism of p53 regulation, which may have consequences for drugs aimed at reinstating p53 function in tumours.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncomms10077DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4703841PMC
December 2015

TWIST1-Induced miR-424 Reversibly Drives Mesenchymal Programming while Inhibiting Tumor Initiation.

Cancer Res 2015 May 25;75(9):1908-21. Epub 2015 Feb 25.

Program in Molecular Biology, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, Colorado. Department of Pharmacology, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, Colorado. Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, Colorado.

Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a dynamic process that relies on cellular plasticity. Recently, the process of an oncogenic EMT, followed by a reverse mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition (MET), has been implicated as critical in the metastatic colonization of carcinomas. Unlike governance of epithelial programming, regulation of mesenchymal programming is not well understood in EMT. Here, we describe and characterize the first microRNA that enhances exclusively mesenchymal programming. We demonstrate that miR-424 is upregulated early during a TWIST1 or SNAI1-induced EMT, and that it causes cells to express mesenchymal genes without affecting epithelial genes, resulting in a mixed/intermediate EMT. Furthermore, miR-424 increases motility, decreases adhesion, and induces a growth arrest, changes associated with a complete EMT that can be reversed when miR-424 expression is lowered, concomitant with an MET-like process. Breast cancer patient miR-424 levels positively associate with TWIST1/2 and EMT-like gene signatures, and miR-424 is increased in primary tumors versus matched normal breast. However, miR-424 is downregulated in patient metastases versus matched primary tumors. Correspondingly, miR-424 decreases tumor initiation and is posttranscriptionally downregulated in macrometastases in mice, suggesting the need for biphasic expression of miR-424 to transit the EMT-MET axis. Next-generation RNA sequencing revealed miR-424 regulates numerous EMT and cancer stemness-associated genes, including TGFBR3, whose downregulation promotes mesenchymal phenotypes, but not tumor-initiating phenotypes. Instead, we demonstrate that increased MAPK-ERK signaling is critical for miR-424-mediated decreases in tumor-initiating phenotypes. These findings suggest miR-424 plays distinct roles in tumor progression, potentially facilitating earlier, but repressing later, stages of metastasis by regulating an EMT-MET axis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-14-2394DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4417413PMC
May 2015

Intratumoral heterogeneity: Clonal cooperation in epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition and metastasis.

Cell Adh Migr 2015 16;9(4):265-76. Epub 2014 Oct 16.

a Department of Pharmacology ; University of Colorado; School of Medicine ; Aurora, CO USA.

Although phenotypic intratumoral heterogeneity was first described many decades ago, the advent of next-generation sequencing has provided conclusive evidence that in addition to phenotypic diversity, significant genotypic diversity exists within tumors. Tumor heterogeneity likely arises both from clonal expansions, as well as from differentiation hierarchies existent in the tumor, such as that established by cancer stem cells (CSCs) and non-CSCs. These differentiation hierarchies may arise due to genetic mutations, epigenetic alterations, or microenvironmental influences. An additional differentiation hierarchy within epithelial tumors may arise when only a few tumor cells trans-differentiate into mesenchymal-like cells, a process known as epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Again, this process can be influenced by both genetic and non-genetic factors. In this review we discuss the evidence for clonal interaction and cooperation for tumor maintenance and progression, particularly with respect to EMT, and further address the far-reaching effects that tumor heterogeneity may have on cancer therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4161/19336918.2014.972761DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4594578PMC
May 2016

Allosteric inhibitors of the Eya2 phosphatase are selective and inhibit Eya2-mediated cell migration.

J Biol Chem 2014 Jun 22;289(23):16349-61. Epub 2014 Apr 22.

From the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, Colorado 80045,

Eya proteins are essential co-activators of the Six family of transcription factors and contain a unique tyrosine phosphatase domain belonging to the haloacid dehalogenase family of phosphatases. The phosphatase activity of Eya is important for the transcription of a subset of Six1-target genes, and also directs cells to the repair rather than apoptosis pathway upon DNA damage. Furthermore, Eya phosphatase activity has been shown to mediate transformation, invasion, migration, and metastasis of breast cancer cells, making it a potential new drug target for breast cancer. We have previously identified a class of N-arylidenebenzohydrazide compounds that specifically inhibit the Eya2 phosphatase. Herein, we demonstrate that these compounds are reversible inhibitors that selectively inhibit the phosphatase activity of Eya2, but not Eya3. Our mutagenesis results suggest that this class of compounds does not bind to the active site and the binding does not require the coordination with Mg(2+). Moreover, these compounds likely bind within a site on the opposite face of the active site, and function as allosteric inhibitors. We also demonstrate that this class of compounds inhibits Eya2 phosphatase-mediated cell migration, setting the foundation for these molecules to be developed into chemical probes for understanding the specific function of the Eya2 phosphatase and to serve as a prototype for the development of Eya2 phosphatase specific anti-cancer drugs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M114.566729DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4047403PMC
June 2014

Breast cancer epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition: examining the functional consequences of plasticity.

Breast Cancer Res 2011 1;13(6):226. Epub 2011 Nov 1.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, 12700 E, 19th Ave, MS 8613, Aurora, CO 80045, USA.

The epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a critical developmental process that has recently come to the forefront of cancer biology. In breast carcinomas, acquisition of a mesenchymal-like phenotype that is reminiscent of an EMT, termed oncogenic EMT, is associated with pro-metastatic properties, including increased motility, invasion, anoikis resistance, immunosuppression and cancer stem cell characteristics. This oncogenic EMT is a consequence of cellular plasticity, which allows for interconversion between epithelial and mesenchymal-like states, and is thought to enable tumor cells not only to escape from the primary tumor, but also to colonize a secondary site. Indeed, the plasticity of cancer cells may explain the range of pro-metastatic traits conferred by oncogenic EMT, such as the recently described link between EMT and cancer stem cells and/or therapeutic resistance. Continued research into this relationship will be critical in developing drugs that block mechanisms of breast cancer progression, ultimately improving patient outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/bcr3037DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3326549PMC
June 2012