Publications by authors named "Fernando J de Miguel"

10 Publications

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Genome-wide CRISPR Screens Reveal Host Factors Critical for SARS-CoV-2 Infection.

Cell 2021 01 20;184(1):76-91.e13. Epub 2020 Oct 20.

Department of Laboratory Medicine, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520, USA; Department of Immunobiology, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520, USA; Yale Cancer Center, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520, USA. Electronic address:

Identification of host genes essential for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection may reveal novel therapeutic targets and inform our understanding of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pathogenesis. Here we performed genome-wide CRISPR screens in Vero-E6 cells with SARS-CoV-2, Middle East respiratory syndrome CoV (MERS-CoV), bat CoV HKU5 expressing the SARS-CoV-1 spike, and vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) expressing the SARS-CoV-2 spike. We identified known SARS-CoV-2 host factors, including the receptor ACE2 and protease Cathepsin L. We additionally discovered pro-viral genes and pathways, including HMGB1 and the SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complex, that are SARS lineage and pan-coronavirus specific, respectively. We show that HMGB1 regulates ACE2 expression and is critical for entry of SARS-CoV-2, SARS-CoV-1, and NL63. We also show that small-molecule antagonists of identified gene products inhibited SARS-CoV-2 infection in monkey and human cells, demonstrating the conserved role of these genetic hits across species. This identifies potential therapeutic targets for SARS-CoV-2 and reveals SARS lineage-specific and pan-CoV host factors that regulate susceptibility to highly pathogenic CoVs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2020.10.028DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7574718PMC
January 2021

An Elaborate STING Operation to Take Down NSCLC: Combination of Immunotherapies and Chemotherapies.

J Thorac Oncol 2020 05;15(5):686-688

Yale Cancer Center, Yale School of Medicine, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut. Electronic address:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtho.2020.03.018DOI Listing
May 2020

Antiangiogenic Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor-Blocking Peptides Displayed on the Capsid of an Infectious Oncolytic Parvovirus: Assembly and Immune Interactions.

J Virol 2019 10 12;93(19). Epub 2019 Sep 12.

Centro de Biología Molecular Severo Ochoa (CSIC-UAM), Madrid, Spain

As many tumor cells synthetize vascular endothelial growth factors (VEGF) that promote neo-vascularization and metastasis, frontline cancer therapies often administer anti-VEGF (α-VEGF) antibodies. To target the oncolytic parvovirus minute virus of mice (MVM) to the tumor vasculature, we studied the functional tolerance, evasion of neutralization, and induction of α-VEGF antibodies of chimeric viruses in which the footprint of a neutralizing monoclonal antibody within the 3-fold capsid spike was replaced by VEGF-blocking peptides: P6L (PQPRPL) and A7R (ATWLPPR). Both peptides allowed viral genome replication and nuclear translocation of chimeric capsid subunits. MVM-P6L efficiently propagated in culture, exposing the heterologous peptide on the capsid surface, and evaded neutralization by the anti-spike monoclonal antibody. In contrast, MVM-A7R yielded low infectious titers and was poorly recognized by an α-A7R monoclonal antibody. MVM-A7R showed a deficient assembly pattern, suggesting that A7R impaired a transitional configuration that the subunits must undergo in the 3-fold axis to close up the capsid shell. The MVM-A7R chimeric virus consistently evolved in culture into a mutant carrying the P6Q amino acid substitution within the A7R sequence, which restored normal capsid assembly and infectivity. Consistent with this finding, anti-native VEGF antibodies were induced in mice by a single injection of MVM-A7R empty capsids, but not by MVM-A7R virions. This fundamental study provides insights to endow an infectious parvovirus with immune antineovascularization and evasion capacities by replacing an antibody footprint in the capsid 3-fold axis with VEGF-blocking peptides, and it also illustrates the evolutionary capacity of single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) viruses to overcome engineered capsid structural restrictions. Targeting the VEGF signaling required for neovascularization by vaccination with chimeric capsids of oncolytic viruses may boost therapy for solid tumors. VEGF-blocking peptides (VEbp) engineered in the capsid 3-fold axis endowed the infectious parvovirus MVM with the ability to induce α-VEGF antibodies without adjuvant and to evade neutralization by MVM-specific antibodies. However, these properties may be compromised by structural restraints that the capsid imposes on the peptide configuration and by misassembly caused by the heterologous peptides. Significantly, chimeric MVM-VEbp resolved the structural restrictions by selecting mutations within the engineered peptides that restored efficient capsid assembly. These data show the promise of antineovascularization vaccines using chimeric VEbp-icosahedral capsids of oncolytic viruses but also raise safety concerns regarding the genetic stability of manipulated infectious parvoviruses in cancer and gene therapies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.00798-19DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6744233PMC
October 2019

Tumor regression mediated by oncogene withdrawal or erlotinib stimulates infiltration of inflammatory immune cells in EGFR mutant lung tumors.

J Immunother Cancer 2019 07 10;7(1):172. Epub 2019 Jul 10.

Department of Pathology, Yale School of Medicine, 333 Cedar Street, SHM-I 234D, New Haven, CT, 06510, USA.

Background: Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) like erlotinib are effective for treating patients with EGFR mutant lung cancer; however, drug resistance inevitably emerges. Approaches to combine immunotherapies and targeted therapies to overcome or delay drug resistance have been hindered by limited knowledge of the effect of erlotinib on tumor-infiltrating immune cells.

Methods: Using mouse models, we studied the immunological profile of mutant EGFR-driven lung tumors before and after erlotinib treatment.

Results: We found that erlotinib triggered the recruitment of inflammatory T cells into the lungs and increased maturation of alveolar macrophages. Interestingly, this phenotype could be recapitulated by tumor regression mediated by deprivation of the EGFR oncogene indicating that tumor regression alone was sufficient for these immunostimulatory effects. We also found that further efforts to boost the function and abundance of inflammatory cells, by combining erlotinib treatment with anti-PD-1 and/or a CD40 agonist, did not improve survival in an EGFR-driven mouse model.

Conclusions: Our findings lay the foundation for understanding the effects of TKIs on the tumor microenvironment and highlight the importance of investigating targeted and immuno-therapy combination strategies to treat EGFR mutant lung cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40425-019-0643-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6617639PMC
July 2019

Comparison of RNA-seq and microarray platforms for splice event detection using a cross-platform algorithm.

BMC Genomics 2018 Sep 25;19(1):703. Epub 2018 Sep 25.

CEIT and Tecnun, University of Navarra, Parque Tecnológico de San Sebastián, Paseo Mikeletegi 48, 20009, San Sebastián, Gipuzkoa, Spain.

Background: RNA-seq is a reference technology for determining alternative splicing at genome-wide level. Exon arrays remain widely used for the analysis of gene expression, but show poor validation rate with regard to splicing events. Commercial arrays that include probes within exon junctions have been developed in order to overcome this problem. We compare the performance of RNA-seq (Illumina HiSeq) and junction arrays (Affymetrix Human Transcriptome array) for the analysis of transcript splicing events. Three different breast cancer cell lines were treated with CX-4945, a drug that severely affects splicing. To enable a direct comparison of the two platforms, we adapted EventPointer, an algorithm that detects and labels alternative splicing events using junction arrays, to work also on RNA-seq data. Common results and discrepancies between the technologies were validated and/or resolved by over 200 PCR experiments.

Results: As might be expected, RNA-seq appears superior in cases where the technologies disagree and is able to discover novel splicing events beyond the limitations of physical probe-sets. We observe a high degree of coherence between the two technologies, however, with correlation of EventPointer results over 0.90. Through decimation, the detection power of the junction arrays is equivalent to RNA-seq with up to 60 million reads.

Conclusions: Our results suggest, therefore, that exon-junction arrays are a viable alternative to RNA-seq for detection of alternative splicing events when focusing on well-described transcriptional regions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12864-018-5082-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6156849PMC
September 2018

A novel protein-based prognostic signature improves risk stratification to guide clinical management in early-stage lung adenocarcinoma patients.

J Pathol 2018 08 20;245(4):421-432. Epub 2018 Jun 20.

Program in Solid Tumours, CIMA, Pamplona, Spain.

Each of the pathological stages (I-IIIa) of surgically resected non-small-cell lung cancer has hidden biological heterogeneity, manifested as heterogeneous outcomes within each stage. Thus, the finding of robust and precise molecular classifiers with which to assess individual patient risk is an unmet medical need. Here, we identified and validated the clinical utility of a new prognostic signature based on three proteins (BRCA1, QKI, and SLC2A1) to stratify early-stage lung adenocarcinoma patients according to their risk of recurrence or death. Patients were staged according to the new International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) staging criteria (8th edition, 2018). A test cohort (n = 239) was used to assess the value of this new prognostic index (PI) based on the three proteins. The prognostic signature was developed by Cox regression with the use of stringent statistical criteria (TRIPOD: Transparent reporting of a multivariable prediction model for individual prognosis or diagnosis). The model resulted in a highly significant predictor of 5-year outcome for disease-free survival (p < 0.001) and overall survival (p < 0.001). The prognostic ability of the model was externally validated in an independent multi-institutional cohort of patients (n = 114, p = 0.021). We also demonstrated that this molecular classifier adds relevant information to the gold standard TNM-based pathological staging, with a highly significant improvement of the likelihood ratio. We subsequently developed a combined PI including both the molecular and the pathological data that improved the risk stratification in both cohorts (p ≤ 0.001). Moreover, the signature may help to select stage I-IIA patients who might benefit from adjuvant chemotherapy. In summary, this protein-based signature accurately identifies those patients with a high risk of recurrence and death, and adds further prognostic information to the TNM-based clinical staging, even when the new IASLC 8th edition staging criteria are applied. More importantly, it may be a valuable tool for selecting patients for adjuvant therapy. Copyright © 2018 Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/path.5096DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6563803PMC
August 2018

Blockade of the Complement C5a/C5aR1 Axis Impairs Lung Cancer Bone Metastasis by CXCL16-mediated Effects.

Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2018 05;197(9):1164-1176

1 Center for Applied Medical Research, Program in Solid Tumors and Biomarkers, Pamplona, Spain.

Rationale: C5aR1 (CD88), a receptor for complement anaphylatoxin C5a, is a potent immune mediator. Its impact on malignant growth and dissemination of non-small cell lung cancer cells is poorly understood.

Objectives: To investigate the contribution of the C5a/C5aR1 axis to the malignant phenotype of non-small cell lung cancer cells, particularly in skeletal colonization, a preferential lung metastasis site.

Methods: Association between C5aR1 expression and clinical outcome was assessed in silico and validated by immunohistochemistry. Functional significance was evaluated by lentiviral gene silencing and ligand l-aptamer inhibition in in vivo models of lung cancer bone metastasis. In vitro functional assays for signaling, migration, invasion, metalloprotease activity, and osteoclastogenesis were also performed.

Measurements And Main Results: High levels of C5aR1 in human lung tumors were significantly associated with shorter recurrence-free survival, overall survival, and bone metastasis. Silencing of C5aR1 in lung cancer cells led to a substantial reduction in skeletal metastatic burden and osteolysis in in vivo models. Furthermore, metalloproteolytic, migratory, and invasive tumor cell activities were modulated in vitro by C5aR1 stimulation or gene silencing. l-Aptamer blockade or C5aR1 silencing significantly reduced the osseous metastatic activity of lung cancer cells in vivo. This effect was associated with decreased osteoclastogenic activity in vitro and was rescued by the exogenous addition of the chemokine CXCL16.

Conclusions: Disruption of C5aR1 signaling in lung cancer cells abrogates their tumor-associated osteoclastogenic activity, impairing osseous colonization. This study unveils the role played by the C5a/C5aR1 axis in lung cancer dissemination and supports its potential use as a novel therapeutic target.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1164/rccm.201703-0660OCDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6835094PMC
May 2018

A large-scale analysis of alternative splicing reveals a key role of QKI in lung cancer.

Mol Oncol 2016 11 9;10(9):1437-1449. Epub 2016 Aug 9.

Program in Solid Tumors and Biomarkers, CIMA, 31008 Pamplona, Spain; Department of Biochemistry and Genetics, School of Science, University of Navarra, 31008 Pamplona, Spain; Navarra's Health Research Institute (IDISNA), 31008 Pamplona, Spain. Electronic address:

Increasing interest has been devoted in recent years to the understanding of alternative splicing in cancer. In this study, we performed a genome-wide analysis to identify cancer-associated splice variants in non-small cell lung cancer. We discovered and validated novel differences in the splicing of genes known to be relevant to lung cancer biology, such as NFIB, ENAH or SPAG9. Gene enrichment analyses revealed an important contribution of alternative splicing to cancer-related molecular functions, especially those involved in cytoskeletal dynamics. Interestingly, a substantial fraction of the altered genes found in our analysis were targets of the protein quaking (QKI), pointing to this factor as one of the most relevant regulators of alternative splicing in non-small cell lung cancer. We also found that ESYT2, one of the QKI targets, is involved in cytoskeletal organization. ESYT2-short variant inhibition in lung cancer cells resulted in a cortical distribution of actin whereas inhibition of the long variant caused an increase of endocytosis, suggesting that the cancer-associated splicing pattern of ESYT2 has a profound impact in the biology of cancer cells. Finally, we show that low nuclear QKI expression in non-small cell lung cancer is an independent prognostic factor for disease-free survival (HR = 2.47; 95% CI = 1.11-5.46, P = 0.026). In conclusion, we identified several splicing variants with functional relevance in lung cancer largely regulated by the splicing factor QKI, a tumor suppressor associated with prognosis in lung cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.molonc.2016.08.001DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5423218PMC
November 2016

EventPointer: an effective identification of alternative splicing events using junction arrays.

BMC Genomics 2016 06 17;17:467. Epub 2016 Jun 17.

CEIT, Parque Tecnológico de San Sebastián, Paseo Mikeletegi 48, 20009, San Sebastián, Gipuzkoa, Spain.

Background: Alternative splicing (AS) is a major source of variability in the transcriptome of eukaryotes. There is an increasing interest in its role in different pathologies. Before sequencing technology appeared, AS was measured with specific arrays. However, these arrays did not perform well in the detection of AS events and provided very large false discovery rates (FDR). Recently the Human Transcriptome Array 2.0 (HTA 2.0) has been deployed. It includes junction probes. However, the interpretation software provided by its vendor (TAC 3.0) does not fully exploit its potential (does not study jointly the exons and junctions involved in a splicing event) and can only be applied to case-control studies. New statistical algorithms and software must be developed in order to exploit the HTA 2.0 array for event detection.

Results: We have developed EventPointer, an R package (built under the aroma.affymetrix framework) to search and analyze Alternative Splicing events using HTA 2.0 arrays. This software uses a linear model that broadens its application from plain case-control studies to complex experimental designs. Given the CEL files and the design and contrast matrices, the software retrieves a list of all the detected events indicating: 1) the type of event (exon cassette, alternative 3', etc.), 2) its fold change and its statistical significance, and 3) the potential protein domains affected by the AS events and the statistical significance of the possible enrichment. Our tests have shown that EventPointer has an extremely low FDR value (only 1 false positive within the tested top-200 events). This software is publicly available and it has been uploaded to GitHub.

Conclusions: This software empowers the HTA 2.0 arrays for AS event detection as an alternative to RNA-seq: simplifying considerably the required analysis, speeding it up and reducing the required computational power.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12864-016-2816-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4912780PMC
June 2016

Identification of alternative splicing events regulated by the oncogenic factor SRSF1 in lung cancer.

Cancer Res 2014 Feb 26;74(4):1105-15. Epub 2013 Dec 26.

Authors' Affiliations: Division of Oncology, Center for Applied Medical Research (CIMA); Departments of Histology and Pathology and Biochemistry and Genetics, Schools of Science and Medicine, University of Navarra, Pamplona; and CEIT and TECNUN, University of Navarra, San Sebastian, Spain.

Abnormal alternative splicing has been associated with cancer. Genome-wide microarrays can be used to detect differential splicing events. In this study, we have developed ExonPointer, an algorithm that uses data from exon and junction probes to identify annotated cassette exons. We used the algorithm to profile differential splicing events in lung adenocarcinoma A549 cells after downregulation of the oncogenic serine/arginine-rich splicing factor 1 (SRSF1). Data were generated using two different microarray platforms. The PCR-based validation rate of the top 20 ranked genes was 60% and 100%. Functional enrichment analyses found a substantial number of splicing events in genes related to RNA metabolism. These analyses also identified genes associated with cancer and developmental and hereditary disorders, as well as biologic processes such as cell division, apoptosis, and proliferation. Most of the top 20 ranked genes were validated in other adenocarcinoma and squamous cell lung cancer cells, with validation rates of 80% to 95% and 70% to 75%, respectively. Moreover, the analysis allowed us to identify four genes, ATP11C, IQCB1, TUBD1, and proline-rich coiled-coil 2C (PRRC2C), with a significantly different pattern of alternative splicing in primary non-small cell lung tumors compared with normal lung tissue. In the case of PRRC2C, SRSF1 downregulation led to the skipping of an exon overexpressed in primary lung tumors. Specific siRNA downregulation of the exon-containing variant significantly reduced cell growth. In conclusion, using a novel analytical tool, we have identified new splicing events regulated by the oncogenic splicing factor SRSF1 in lung cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-13-1481DOI Listing
February 2014