Publications by authors named "Lukas Kurz"

2 Publications

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The signal transducer CD24 suppresses the germ cell program and promotes an ectodermal rather than mesodermal cell fate in embryonal carcinomas.

Mol Oncol 2021 Jul 22. Epub 2021 Jul 22.

Department of Urology, Urological Research Laboratory, Translational UroOncology, Medical Faculty and University Hospital Düsseldorf, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Germany.

Testicular germ cell tumors (GCTs) are stratified into seminomas and nonseminomas. Seminomas share many histological and molecular features with primordial germ cells, whereas the nonseminoma stem cell population-embryonal carcinoma (EC)-is pluripotent and thus able to differentiate into cells of all three germ layers (teratomas). Furthermore, ECs are capable of differentiating into extra-embryonic lineages (yolk sac tumors, choriocarcinomas). In this study, we deciphered the molecular and (epi)genetic mechanisms regulating expression of CD24, a highly glycosylated signaling molecule upregulated in many cancers. CD24 is overexpressed in ECs compared with other GCT entities and can be associated with an undifferentiated pluripotent cell fate. We demonstrate that CD24 can be transactivated by the pluripotency factor SOX2, which binds in proximity to the CD24 promoter. In GCTs, CD24 expression is controlled by epigenetic mechanisms, that is, histone acetylation, since CD24 can be induced by the application histone deacetylase inhibitors. Vice versa, CD24 expression is downregulated upon inhibition of histone methyltransferases, E3 ubiquitin ligases, or bromodomain (BRD) proteins. Additionally, three-dimensional (3D) co-cultivation of EC cells with microenvironmental cells, such as fibroblasts, and endothelial or immune cells, reduced CD24 expression, suggesting that crosstalk with the somatic microenvironment influences CD24 expression. In a CRISPR/Cas9 deficiency model, we demonstrate that CD24 fulfills a bivalent role in differentiation via regulation of homeobox, and phospho- and glycoproteins; that is, it is involved in suppressing the germ cell/spermatogenesis program and mesodermal/endodermal differentiation, while poising the cells for ectodermal differentiation. Finally, blocking CD24 by a monoclonal antibody enhanced sensitivity toward cisplatin in EC cells, including cisplatin-resistant subclones, highlighting CD24 as a putative target in combination with cisplatin.
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July 2021

Regulates Transcription and the Epigenetic Landscape via POLE and DMAP1 while Deficiency or Pharmacological Inhibition Sensitizes Germ Cell Tumor Cells to ATR Inhibition.

Cancers (Basel) 2020 Apr 7;12(4). Epub 2020 Apr 7.

Department of Urology, Urological Research Lab, Translational UroOncology, University Hospital Düsseldorf, 40225 Düsseldorf, Germany.

Germ cell tumors (GCTs) are the most common solid malignancies found in young men. Although they generally have high cure rates, metastases, resistance to cisplatin-based therapy, and late toxicities still represent a lethal threat, arguing for the need of new therapeutic options. In a previous study, we identified downregulation of the chromatin-remodeling SWI/SNF complex member ARID1A as a key event in the mode of action of the histone deacetylase inhibitor romidepsin. Additionally, the loss-of-function mutations re-sensitize different tumor types to various drugs, like EZH2-, PARP-, HDAC-, HSP90- or ATR-inhibitors. Thus, ARID1A presents as a promising target for synthetic lethality and combination therapy. In this study, we deciphered the molecular function of ARID1A and screened for the potential of two pharmacological ARID1A inhibitors as a new therapeutic strategy to treat GCTs. By CRISPR/Cas9, we generated -deficient GCT cells and demonstrate by mass spectrometry that is putatively involved in regulating transcription, DNA repair and the epigenetic landscape via DNA Polymerase POLE and the DNA methyltransferase 1-associated protein DMAP1. Additionally, deficiency or pharmacological inhibition increased the efficacy of romidepsin and considerably sensitized GCT cells, including cisplatin-resistant subclones, towards ATR inhibition. Thus, targeting ARID1A in combination with romidepsin and ATR inhibitors presents as a new putative option to treat GCTs.
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April 2020