Publications by authors named "Shana Claeys"

6 Publications

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The ETS transcription factor ETV5 is a target of activated ALK in neuroblastoma contributing to increased tumour aggressiveness.

Sci Rep 2020 01 14;10(1):218. Epub 2020 Jan 14.

Department of Biomolecular Medicine, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium.

Neuroblastoma is an aggressive childhood cancer arising from sympatho-adrenergic neuronal progenitors. The low survival rates for high-risk disease point to an urgent need for novel targeted therapeutic approaches. Detailed molecular characterization of the neuroblastoma genomic landscape indicates that ALK-activating mutations are present in 10% of primary tumours. Together with other mutations causing RAS/MAPK pathway activation, ALK mutations are also enriched in relapsed cases and ALK activation was shown to accelerate MYCN-driven tumour formation through hitherto unknown ALK-driven target genes. To gain further insight into how ALK contributes to neuroblastoma aggressiveness, we searched for known oncogenes in our previously reported ALK-driven gene signature. We identified ETV5, a bona fide oncogene in prostate cancer, as robustly upregulated in neuroblastoma cells harbouring ALK mutations, and show high ETV5 levels downstream of the RAS/MAPK axis. Increased ETV5 expression significantly impacted migration, invasion and colony formation in vitro, and ETV5 knockdown reduced proliferation in a murine xenograft model. We also established a gene signature associated with ETV5 knockdown that correlates with poor patient survival. Taken together, our data highlight ETV5 as an intrinsic component of oncogenic ALK-driven signalling through the MAPK axis and propose that ETV5 upregulation in neuroblastoma may contribute to tumour aggressiveness.
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January 2020

ALK positively regulates MYCN activity through repression of HBP1 expression.

Oncogene 2019 04 11;38(15):2690-2705. Epub 2018 Dec 11.

Center for Medical Genetics Ghent (CMGG), Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium.

ALK mutations occur in 10% of primary neuroblastomas and represent a major target for precision treatment. In combination with MYCN amplification, ALK mutations infer an ultra-high-risk phenotype resulting in very poor patient prognosis. To open up opportunities for future precision drugging, a deeper understanding of the molecular consequences of constitutive ALK signaling and its relationship to MYCN activity in this aggressive pediatric tumor entity will be essential. We show that mutant ALK downregulates the 'HMG-box transcription factor 1' (HBP1) through the PIK-AKT-FOXO3a signaling axis. HBP1 inhibits both the transcriptional activating and repressing activity of MYCN, the latter being mediated through PRC2 activity. HBP1 itself is under negative control of MYCN through miR-17~92. Combined targeting of HBP1 by PIK antagonists and MYCN signaling by BET- or HDAC-inhibitors blocks MYCN activity and significantly reduces tumor growth, suggesting a novel targeted therapy option for high-risk neuroblastoma.
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April 2019

Integrated proximal proteomics reveals IRS2 as a determinant of cell survival in ALK-driven neuroblastoma.

Sci Signal 2018 11 20;11(557). Epub 2018 Nov 20.

Proteomics Program, Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Blegdamsvej 3B, DK-2200 Copenhagen, Denmark.

Oncogenic anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) is one of the few druggable targets in neuroblastoma, and therapy resistance to ALK-targeting tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) comprises an inevitable clinical challenge. Therefore, a better understanding of the oncogenic signaling network rewiring driven by ALK is necessary to improve and guide future therapies. Here, we performed quantitative mass spectrometry-based proteomics on neuroblastoma cells treated with one of three clinically relevant ALK TKIs (crizotinib, LDK378, or lorlatinib) or an experimentally used ALK TKI (TAE684) to unravel aberrant ALK signaling pathways. Our integrated proximal proteomics (IPP) strategy included multiple signaling layers, such as the ALK interactome, phosphotyrosine interactome, phosphoproteome, and proteome. We identified the signaling adaptor protein IRS2 (insulin receptor substrate 2) as a major ALK target and an ALK TKI-sensitive signaling node in neuroblastoma cells driven by oncogenic ALK. TKI treatment decreased the recruitment of IRS2 to ALK and reduced the tyrosine phosphorylation of IRS2. Furthermore, siRNA-mediated depletion of ALK or IRS2 decreased the phosphorylation of the survival-promoting kinase Akt and of a downstream target, the transcription factor FoxO3, and reduced the viability of three ALK-driven neuroblastoma cell lines. Collectively, our IPP analysis provides insight into the proximal architecture of oncogenic ALK signaling by revealing IRS2 as an adaptor protein that links ALK to neuroblastoma cell survival through the Akt-FoxO3 signaling axis.
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November 2018

A high-throughput 3' UTR reporter screening identifies microRNA interactomes of cancer genes.

PLoS One 2018 9;13(3):e0194017. Epub 2018 Mar 9.

Center for Medical Genetics, Department of Pediatrics and Genetics, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium.

Introduction: Despite the established contribution of deregulated microRNA (miRNA) function to carcinogenesis, relatively few miRNA-cancer gene interactions have been validated, making it difficult to appreciate the true complexity of miRNA-cancer gene regulatory networks.

Results: In this effort, we identify miRNA interactomes of 17 well-established cancer genes, involved in various cancer types, through a miRNome-wide 3' UTR reporter screening. Using a novel and performant strategy for high-throughput screening data analysis, we identify 390 interactions, quadrupling the size of the known miRNA interactome for the cancer genes under investigation. Clear enrichments of established and predicted interactions underscore the validity of the interactome data set. Interactomes appear to be primarily driven by canonical binding site interactions. Nonetheless, non-canonical binding sites, such as offset 6mer and seed-mismatched or G:U wobble sites, also have regulatory activity, albeit clearly less pronounced. Furthermore, we observe enhanced regulation in the presence of 3' supplementary pairing for both canonical and non-canonical binding sites.

Conclusions: Altogether, the cancer gene-miRNA interactome data set represents a unique resource that will aid in the unraveling of regulatory miRNA networks and the dynamic regulation of key protein-coding cancer genes. In addition, it uncovers aspects of the functional miRNA binding site's architecture and the relative contributions of different binding site types.
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July 2018

Early and late effects of pharmacological ALK inhibition on the neuroblastoma transcriptome.

Oncotarget 2017 Dec 6;8(63):106820-106832. Epub 2017 Nov 6.

Center for Medical Genetics, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium.

Background: Neuroblastoma is an aggressive childhood malignancy of the sympathetic nervous system. Despite multi-modal therapy, survival of high-risk patients remains disappointingly low, underscoring the need for novel treatment strategies. The discovery of activating mutations opened the way to precision treatment in a subset of these patients. Previously, we investigated the transcriptional effects of pharmacological ALK inhibition on neuroblastoma cell lines, six hours after TAE684 administration, resulting in the 77-gene ALK signature, which was shown to gradually decrease from 120 minutes after TAE684 treatment, to gain deeper insight into the molecular effects of oncogenic ALK signaling.

Aim: Here, we further dissected the transcriptional dynamic profiles of neuroblastoma cells upon TAE684 treatment in a detailed timeframe of ten minutes up to six hours after inhibition, in order to identify additional early targets for combination treatment.

Results: We observed an unexpected initial upregulation of positively regulated MYCN target genes following subsequent downregulation of overall MYCN activity. In addition, we identified adrenomedullin (ADM), previously shown to be implicated in sunitinib resistance, as the earliest response gene upon ALK inhibition.

Conclusions: We describe the early and late effects of ALK inhibitor TAE684 treatment on the neuroblastoma transcriptome. The observed unexpected upregulation of ADM warrants further investigation in relation to putative ALK resistance in neuroblastoma patients currently undergoing ALK inhibitor treatment.
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December 2017

Upregulation of MAPK Negative Feedback Regulators and RET in Mutant ALK Neuroblastoma: Implications for Targeted Treatment.

Clin Cancer Res 2015 Jul 24;21(14):3327-39. Epub 2015 Mar 24.

Center for Medical Genetics, Ghent University Hospital, Ghent, Belgium.

Purpose: Activating ALK mutations are present in almost 10% of primary neuroblastomas and mark patients for treatment with small-molecule ALK inhibitors in clinical trials. However, recent studies have shown that multiple mechanisms drive resistance to these molecular therapies. We anticipated that detailed mapping of the oncogenic ALK-driven signaling in neuroblastoma can aid to identify potential fragile nodes as additional targets for combination therapies.

Experimental Design: To achieve this goal, transcriptome profiling was performed in neuroblastoma cell lines with the ALK(F1174L) or ALK(R1275Q) hotspot mutations, ALK amplification, or wild-type ALK following pharmacologic inhibition of ALK using four different compounds. Next, we performed cross-species genomic analyses to identify commonly transcriptionally perturbed genes in MYCN/ALK(F1174L) double transgenic versus MYCN transgenic mouse tumors as compared with the mutant ALK-driven transcriptome in human neuroblastomas.

Results: A 77-gene ALK signature was established and successfully validated in primary neuroblastoma samples, in a neuroblastoma cell line with ALK(F1174L) and ALK(R1275Q) regulable overexpression constructs and in other ALKomas. In addition to the previously established PI3K/AKT/mTOR, MAPK/ERK, and MYC/MYCN signaling branches, we identified that mutant ALK drives a strong upregulation of MAPK negative feedback regulators and upregulates RET and RET-driven sympathetic neuronal markers of the cholinergic lineage.

Conclusions: We provide important novel insights into the transcriptional consequences and the complexity of mutant ALK signaling in this aggressive pediatric tumor. The negative feedback loop of MAPK pathway inhibitors may affect novel ALK inhibition therapies, whereas mutant ALK induced RET signaling can offer novel opportunities for testing ALK-RET oriented molecular combination therapies.
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July 2015