Publications by authors named "Ray Reeves"

2 Publications

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HMGA1 induces intestinal polyposis in transgenic mice and drives tumor progression and stem cell properties in colon cancer cells.

PLoS One 2012 20;7(1):e30034. Epub 2012 Jan 20.

Hematology Division, Department of Medicine, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America.

Background: Although metastatic colon cancer is a leading cause of cancer death worldwide, the molecular mechanisms that enable colon cancer cells to metastasize remain unclear. Emerging evidence suggests that metastatic cells develop by usurping transcriptional networks from embryonic stem (ES) cells to facilitate an epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), invasion, and metastatic progression. Previous studies identified HMGA1 as a key transcription factor enriched in ES cells, colon cancer, and other aggressive tumors, although its role in these settings is poorly understood.

Methods/principal Findings: To determine how HMGA1 functions in metastatic colon cancer, we manipulated HMGA1 expression in transgenic mice and colon cancer cells. We discovered that HMGA1 drives proliferative changes, aberrant crypt formation, and intestinal polyposis in transgenic mice. In colon cancer cell lines from poorly differentiated, metastatic tumors, knock-down of HMGA1 blocks anchorage-independent cell growth, migration, invasion, xenograft tumorigenesis and three-dimensional colonosphere formation. Inhibiting HMGA1 expression blocks tumorigenesis at limiting dilutions, consistent with depletion of tumor-initiator cells in the knock-down cells. Knock-down of HMGA1 also inhibits metastatic progression to the liver in vivo. In metastatic colon cancer cells, HMGA1 induces expression of Twist1, a gene involved in embryogenesis, EMT, and tumor progression, while HMGA1 represses E-cadherin, a gene that is down-regulated during EMT and metastatic progression. In addition, HMGA1 is among the most enriched genes in colon cancer compared to normal mucosa.

Conclusions: Our findings demonstrate for the first time that HMGA1 drives proliferative changes and polyp formation in the intestines of transgenic mice and induces metastatic progression and stem-like properties in colon cancer cells. These findings indicate that HMGA1 is a key regulator, both in metastatic progression and in the maintenance of a stem-like state. Our results also suggest that HMGA1 or downstream pathways could be rational therapeutic targets in metastatic, poorly differentiated colon cancer.
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June 2012

The high-mobility group A1a/signal transducer and activator of transcription-3 axis: an achilles heel for hematopoietic malignancies?

Cancer Res 2008 Dec;68(24):10121-7

Departments of Medicine, Hematology Division, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21205, USA.

Although HMGA1 (high-mobility group A1; formerly HMG-I/Y) is an oncogene that is widely overexpressed in aggressive cancers, the molecular mechanisms underlying transformation by HMGA1 are only beginning to emerge. HMGA1 encodes the HMGA1a and HMGA1b protein isoforms, which function in regulating gene expression. To determine how HMGA1 leads to neoplastic transformation, we looked for genes regulated by HMGA1 using gene expression profile analysis. Here, we show that the STAT3 gene, which encodes the signaling molecule signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3), is a critical downstream target of HMGA1a. STAT3 mRNA and protein are up-regulated in fibroblasts overexpressing HMGA1a and activated STAT3 recapitulates the transforming activity of HMGA1a in fibroblasts. HMGA1a also binds directly to a conserved region of the STAT3 promoter in vivo in human leukemia cells by chromatin immunoprecipitation and activates transcription of the STAT3 promoter in transfection experiments. To determine if this pathway contributes to HMGA1-mediated transformation, we investigated STAT3 expression in our HMGA1a transgenic mice, all of which developed aggressive lymphoid malignancy. STAT3 expression was increased in the leukemia cells from our transgenics but not in control cells. Blocking STAT3 function induced apoptosis in the transgenic leukemia cells but not in controls. In primary human leukemia samples, there was a positive correlation between HMGA1a and STAT3 mRNA. Moreover, blocking STAT3 function in human leukemia or lymphoma cells led to decreased cellular motility and foci formation. Our results show that the HMGA1a-STAT3 axis is a potential Achilles heel that could be exploited therapeutically in hematopoietic and other malignancies overexpressing HMGA1a.
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December 2008