Publications by authors named "Wendy S Halsey"

11 Publications

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Targeting Bromodomain and Extra-Terminal (BET) Family Proteins in Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer (CRPC).

Clin Cancer Res 2018 07 19;24(13):3149-3162. Epub 2018 Mar 19.

The Institute for Cancer Research, London, United Kingdom.

Persistent androgen receptor (AR) signaling drives castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) and confers resistance to AR-targeting therapies. Novel therapeutic strategies to overcome this are urgently required. We evaluated how bromodomain and extra-terminal (BET) protein inhibitors (BETi) abrogate aberrant AR signaling in CRPC. We determined associations between BET expression, AR-driven transcription, and patient outcome; and the effect and mechanism by which chemical BETi (JQ1 and GSK1210151A; I-BET151) and BET family protein knockdown regulates AR-V7 expression and AR signaling in prostate cancer models. Nuclear BRD4 protein expression increases significantly ( ≤ 0.01) with castration resistance in same patient treatment-naïve (median -score; interquartile range: 100; 100-170) and CRPC (150; 110-200) biopsies, with higher expression at diagnosis associating with worse outcome (HR, 3.25; 95% CI, 1.50-7.01; ≤ 0.001). BRD2, BRD3, and BRD4 RNA expression in CRPC biopsies correlates with AR-driven transcription (all ≤ 0.001). Chemical BETi, and combined BET family protein knockdown, reduce AR-V7 expression and AR signaling. This was not recapitulated by C-MYC knockdown. In addition, we show that BETi regulates RNA processing thereby reducing alternative splicing and AR-V7 expression. Furthermore, BETi reduce growth of prostate cancer cells and patient-derived organoids with known AR mutations, AR amplification and AR-V7 expression. Finally, BETi, unlike enzalutamide, decreases persistent AR signaling and growth ( ≤ 0.001) of a patient-derived xenograft model of CRPC with AR amplification and AR-V7 expression. BETi merit clinical evaluation as inhibitors of AR splicing and function, with trials demonstrating their blockade in proof-of-mechanism pharmacodynamic studies. .
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-17-3571DOI Listing
July 2018

BRD4 Promotes DNA Repair and Mediates the Formation of TMPRSS2-ERG Gene Rearrangements in Prostate Cancer.

Cell Rep 2018 01;22(3):796-808

Department of Pathology, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX 75390, USA; Department of Urology, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX 75390, USA; Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX 75390, USA. Electronic address:

BRD4 belongs to the bromodomain and extraterminal (BET) family of chromatin reader proteins that bind acetylated histones and regulate gene expression. Pharmacological inhibition of BRD4 by BET inhibitors (BETi) has indicated antitumor activity against multiple cancer types. We show that BRD4 is essential for the repair of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) and mediates the formation of oncogenic gene rearrangements by engaging the non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) pathway. Mechanistically, genome-wide DNA breaks are associated with enhanced acetylation of histone H4, leading to BRD4 recruitment, and stable establishment of the DNA repair complex. In support of this, we also show that, in clinical tumor samples, BRD4 protein levels are negatively associated with outcome after prostate cancer (PCa) radiation therapy. Thus, in addition to regulating gene expression, BRD4 is also a central player in the repair of DNA DSBs, with significant implications for cancer therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2017.12.078DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5843368PMC
January 2018

Activation of the Amino Acid Response Pathway Blunts the Effects of Cardiac Stress.

J Am Heart Assoc 2017 May 9;6(5). Epub 2017 May 9.

Heart Failure Discovery Performance Unit, Metabolic Pathways and Cardiovascular Therapy Area GlaxoSmithKline, King of Prussia, PA.

Background: The amino acid response (AAR) is an evolutionarily conserved protective mechanism activated by amino acid deficiency through a key kinase, general control nonderepressible 2. In addition to mobilizing amino acids, the AAR broadly affects gene and protein expression in a variety of pathways and elicits antifibrotic, autophagic, and anti-inflammatory activities. However, little is known regarding its role in cardiac stress. Our aim was to investigate the effects of halofuginone, a prolyl-tRNA synthetase inhibitor, on the AAR pathway in cardiac fibroblasts, cardiomyocytes, and in mouse models of cardiac stress and failure.

Methods And Results: Consistent with its ability to inhibit prolyl-tRNA synthetase, halofuginone elicited a general control nonderepressible 2-dependent activation of the AAR pathway in cardiac fibroblasts as evidenced by activation of known AAR target genes, broad regulation of the transcriptome and proteome, and reversal by l-proline supplementation. Halofuginone was examined in 3 mouse models of cardiac stress: angiotensin II/phenylephrine, transverse aortic constriction, and acute ischemia reperfusion injury. It activated the AAR pathway in the heart, improved survival, pulmonary congestion, left ventricle remodeling/fibrosis, and left ventricular function, and rescued ischemic myocardium. In human cardiac fibroblasts, halofuginone profoundly reduced collagen deposition in a general control nonderepressible 2-dependent manner and suppressed the extracellular matrix proteome. In human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes, halofuginone blocked gene expression associated with endothelin-1-mediated activation of pathologic hypertrophy and restored autophagy in a general control nonderepressible 2/eIF2α-dependent manner.

Conclusions: Halofuginone activated the AAR pathway in the heart and attenuated the structural and functional effects of cardiac stress.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/JAHA.116.004453DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5524058PMC
May 2017

Characterization of Gene Expression Phenotype in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Monocytes.

JAMA Neurol 2017 06;74(6):677-685

Department of Neurology, Peggy and Gary Edwards ALS Laboratory, Houston Methodist Neurological Institute, Houston Methodist Research Institute, Houston, Texas.

Importance: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a common adult-onset neurodegenerative disease characterized by selective loss of upper and lower motor neurons. Patients with ALS have persistent peripheral and central inflammatory responses including abnormally functioning T cells and activated microglia. However, much less is known about the inflammatory gene profile of circulating innate immune monocytes in these patients.

Objective: To characterize the transcriptomics of peripheral monocytes in patients with ALS.

Design, Setting, And Participants: Monocytes were isolated from peripheral blood of 43 patients with ALS and 22 healthy control individuals. Total RNA was extracted from the monocytes and subjected to deep RNA sequencing, and these results were validated by quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction.

Main Outcomes And Measures: The differential expressed gene signatures of these monocytes were identified using unbiased RNA sequencing strategy for gene expression profiling.

Results: The demographics between the patients with ALS (mean [SD] age, 58.8 [1.57] years; 55.8% were men and 44.2% were women; 90.7% were white, 4.65% were Hispanic, 2.33% were black, and 2.33% were Asian) and control individuals were similar (mean [SD] age, 57.6 [2.15] years; 50.0% were men and 50.0% were women; 90.9% were white, none were Hispanic, none were black, and 9.09% were Asian). RNA sequencing data from negative selected monocytes revealed 233 differential expressed genes in ALS monocytes compared with healthy control monocytes. Notably, ALS monocytes demonstrated a unique inflammation-related gene expression profile, the most prominent of which, including IL1B, IL8, FOSB, CXCL1, and CXCL2, were confirmed by quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (IL8, mean [SE], 1.00 [0.18]; P = .002; FOSB, 1.00 [0.21]; P = .009; CXCL1, 1.00 [0.14]; P = .002; and CXCL2, 1.00 [0.11]; P = .01). Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis monocytes from rapidly progressing patients had more proinflammatory DEGs than monocytes from slowly progressing patients.

Conclusions And Relevance: Our data indicate that ALS monocytes are skewed toward a proinflammatory state in the peripheral circulation and may play a role in ALS disease progression, especially in rapidly progressing patients. This increased inflammatory response of peripheral immune cells may provide a potential target for disease-modifying therapy in patients with ALS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamaneurol.2017.0357DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5822209PMC
June 2017

A687V EZH2 is a driver of histone H3 lysine 27 (H3K27) hypertrimethylation.

Mol Cancer Ther 2014 Dec 24;13(12):3062-73. Epub 2014 Sep 24.

Cancer Epigenetics Discovery Performance Unit, Cancer Research, Oncology R&D, GlaxoSmithKline, Collegeville, Pennsylvania.

The EZH2 methyltransferase silences gene expression through methylation of histone H3 on lysine 27 (H3K27). Recently, EZH2 mutations have been reported at Y641, A677, and A687 in non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Although the Y641F/N/S/H/C and A677G mutations exhibit clearly increased activity with substrates dimethylated at lysine 27 (H3K27me2), the A687V mutant has been shown to prefer a monomethylated lysine 27 (H3K27me1) with little gain of activity toward H3K27me2. Herein, we demonstrate that despite this unique substrate preference, A687V EZH2 still drives increased H3K27me3 when transiently expressed in cells. However, unlike the previously described mutants that dramatically deplete global H3K27me2 levels, A687V EZH2 retains normal levels of H3K27me2. Sequencing of B-cell-derived cancer cell lines identified an acute lymphoblastic leukemia cell line harboring this mutation. Similar to exogenous expression of A687V EZH2, this cell line exhibited elevated H3K27me3 while possessing H3K27me2 levels higher than Y641- or A677-mutant lines. Treatment of A687V EZH2-mutant cells with GSK126, a selective EZH2 inhibitor, was associated with a global decrease in H3K27me3, robust gene activation, caspase activation, and decreased proliferation. Structural modeling of the A687V EZH2 active site suggests that the increased catalytic activity with H3K27me1 may be due to a weakened interaction with an active site water molecule that must be displaced for dimethylation to occur. These findings suggest that A687V EZH2 likely increases global H3K27me3 indirectly through increased catalytic activity with H3K27me1 and cells harboring this mutation are highly dependent on EZH2 activity for their survival.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-13-0876DOI Listing
December 2014

Mutation of A677 in histone methyltransferase EZH2 in human B-cell lymphoma promotes hypertrimethylation of histone H3 on lysine 27 (H3K27).

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2012 Feb 8;109(8):2989-94. Epub 2012 Feb 8.

Cancer Epigenetics Discovery Performance Unit, Cancer Research, Oncology Research and Development, GlaxoSmithKline, Collegeville, PA 19426, USA.

Trimethylation of histone H3 on lysine 27 (H3K27me3) is a repressive posttranslational modification mediated by the histone methyltransferase EZH2. EZH2 is a component of the polycomb repressive complex 2 and is overexpressed in many cancers. In B-cell lymphomas, its substrate preference is frequently altered through somatic mutation of the EZH2 Y641 residue. Herein, we identify mutation of EZH2 A677 to a glycine (A677G) among lymphoma cell lines and primary tumor specimens. Similar to Y641 mutant cell lines, an A677G mutant cell line revealed aberrantly elevated H3K27me3 and decreased monomethylated H3K27 (H3K27me1) and dimethylated H3K27 (H3K27me2). A677G EZH2 possessed catalytic activity with a substrate specificity that was distinct from those of both WT EZH2 and Y641 mutants. Whereas WT EZH2 displayed a preference for substrates with less methylation [unmethylated H3K27 (H3K27me0):me1:me2 k(cat)/K(m) ratio = 9:6:1] and Y641 mutants preferred substrates with greater methylation (H3K27me0:me1:me2 k(cat)/K(m) ratio = 1:2:13), the A677G EZH2 demonstrated nearly equal efficiency for all three substrates (H3K27me0:me1:me2 k(cat)/K(m) ratio = 1.1:0.6:1). When transiently expressed in cells, A677G EZH2, but not WT EZH2, increased global H3K27me3 and decreased H3K27me2. Structural modeling of WT and mutant EZH2 suggested that the A677G mutation acquires the ability to methylate H3K27me2 through enlargement of the lysine tunnel while preserving activity with H3K27me0/me1 substrates through retention of the Y641 residue that is crucial for orientation of these smaller substrates. This mutation highlights the interplay between Y641 and A677 residues in the substrate specificity of EZH2 and identifies another lymphoma patient population that harbors an activating mutation of EZH2.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1116418109DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3287005PMC
February 2012

Deep sequencing of gastric carcinoma reveals somatic mutations relevant to personalized medicine.

J Transl Med 2011 Jul 25;9:119. Epub 2011 Jul 25.

Cancer Research, Oncology R&D, Glaxosmithkline R&D, Collegeville, USA.

Background: Globally, gastric cancer is the second most common cause of cancer-related death, with the majority of the health burden borne by economically less-developed countries.

Methods: Here, we report a genetic characterization of 50 gastric adenocarcinoma samples, using affymetrix SNP arrays and Illumina mRNA expression arrays as well as Illumina sequencing of the coding regions of 384 genes belonging to various pathways known to be altered in other cancers.

Results: Genetic alterations were observed in the WNT, Hedgehog, cell cycle, DNA damage and epithelial-to-mesenchymal-transition pathways.

Conclusions: The data suggests targeted therapies approved or in clinical development for gastric carcinoma would be of benefit to ~22% of the patients studied. In addition, the novel mutations detected here, are likely to influence clinical response and suggest new targets for drug discovery.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1479-5876-9-119DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3152520PMC
July 2011

Molecular evolutionary analysis of cancer cell lines.

Mol Cancer Ther 2010 Feb 2;9(2):279-91. Epub 2010 Feb 2.

Department of Biology, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, USA.

With genome-wide cancer studies producing large DNA sequence data sets, novel computational approaches toward better understanding the role of mutations in tumor survival and proliferation are greatly needed. Tumors are widely viewed to be influenced by Darwinian processes, yet molecular evolutionary analysis, invaluable in other DNA sequence studies, has seen little application in cancer biology. Here, we describe the phylogenetic analysis of 353 cancer cell lines based on multiple sequence alignments of 3,252 nucleotides and 1,170 amino acids built from the concatenation of variant codons and residues across 494 and 523 genes, respectively. Reconstructed phylogenetic trees cluster cell lines by shared DNA variant patterns rather than cancer tissue type, suggesting that tumors originating from diverse histologies have similar oncogenic pathways. A well-supported clade of 91 cancer cell lines representing multiple tumor types also had significantly different gene expression profiles from the remaining cell lines according to statistical analyses of mRNA microarray data. This suggests that phylogenetic clustering of tumor cell lines based on DNA variants might reflect functional similarities in cellular pathways. Positive selection analysis revealed specific DNA variants that might be potential driver mutations. Our study shows the potential role of molecular evolutionary analyses in tumor classification and the development of novel anticancer strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-09-0508DOI Listing
February 2010

Comparative analysis of the complete nucleotide sequences of measles, mumps, and rubella strain genomes contained in Priorix-Tetra and ProQuad live attenuated combined vaccines.

Vaccine 2009 Apr 31;27(16):2265-73. Epub 2009 Jan 31.

GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals, Research and Development, Viral Vaccines, Rue de l'Institut, 89, B-1330 Rixensart, Belgium.

Measles, mumps, and rubella are three common viral childhood diseases that can have serious complications. Active immunization against these diseases became possible with the development of live attenuated virus vaccines in the late 1960s. Vaccines against these three diseases were combined into trivalent (Priorix, GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals and M-M-R(II), Merck & Co., Inc.) or tetravalent vaccines including the addition of a live attenuated VZV Oka strain (Priorix-Tetra, GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals and ProQuad, Merck & Co., Inc.). In this study, we report the complete nucleotide sequence of the vaccine strain genomes of the measles (Schwarz and attenuated Edmonston Enders), mumps (RIT 4385 and JL1 component of Jeryl Lynn), and rubella (Wistar RA 27/3) viruses included in the two tetravalent vaccines. Sequencing analysis of the individual virus components in the commercially distributed tetravalent vaccine lots showed that there are no nucleotide differences between the measles, mumps (JL1 component), and rubella vaccine strain genomes of Priorix-Tetra and ProQuad. The observed genetic identity of the individual strains in both vaccines is consistent with their clinical profiles; Priorix-Tetra and ProQuad are both well tolerated and elicit protective immune responses against these three childhood diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vaccine.2009.01.112DOI Listing
April 2009

Complete DNA sequences of two oka strain varicella-zoster virus genomes.

J Virol 2008 Nov 10;82(22):11023-44. Epub 2008 Sep 10.

Viral Vaccines Research and Development, GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals, Rue de l'Institut, 89 (P31-005), B-1330 Rixensart, Belgium.

Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) is a herpesvirus and is the causative agent of chicken pox (varicella) and shingles (herpes zoster). Active immunization against varicella became possible with the development of live attenuated varicella vaccine. The Oka vaccine strain was isolated in Japan from a child who had typical varicella, and it was then attenuated by serial passages in cell culture. Several manufacturers have obtained this attenuated Oka strain and, following additional passages, have developed their own vaccine strains. Notably, the vaccines Varilrix and Varivax are produced by GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals and Merck & Co., Inc., respectively. Both vaccines have been well studied in terms of safety and immunogenicity. In this study, we report the complete nucleotide sequence of the Varilrix (Oka-V(GSK)) and Varivax (Oka-V(Merck)) vaccine strain genomes. Their genomes are composed of 124,821 and 124,815 bp, respectively. Full genome annotations covering the features of Oka-derived vaccine genomes have been established for the first time. Sequence analysis indicates 36 nucleotide differences between the two vaccine strains throughout the entire genome, among which only 14 are involved in unique amino acid substitutions. These results demonstrate that, although Oka-V(GSK) and Oka-V(Merck) vaccine strains are not identical, they are very similar, which supports the clinical data showing that both vaccines are well tolerated and elicit strong immune responses against varicella.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.00777-08DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2573284PMC
November 2008

Temporal and spatial distribution of clonal complexes of Streptococcus pneumoniae isolates resistant to multiple classes of antibiotics in Belgium, 1997 to 2004.

Antimicrob Agents Chemother 2008 Sep 23;52(9):3216-20. Epub 2008 Jun 23.

GlaxoSmithKline, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27709, USA.

We performed multilocus sequence typing on 203 invasive disease isolates of Streptococcus pneumoniae to assess the clonal compositions of isolates from two provinces in Belgium and to determine the relationship between clones and antibiotic nonsusceptibility, particularly nonsusceptibility to two or more classes of antibiotics. The frequency of multiclass nonsusceptibility (MCNS) was higher in the province of West Flanders (38%) than in Limburg (21%). This difference was largely attributable to five clonal complexes (CC156, CC81, CC143, CC193, and CC1848), which contained high proportions of isolates with MCNS (>47%) and which were circulating at higher frequencies in West Flanders. The S. pneumoniae population changed over time, as CC156 and CC81 declined in frequency from 1997 to 1999 to 2001 to 2004. Over the same time period, the frequency of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine 7 (PCV7) serotypes dropped from 69% to 41%. In contrast, the nonvaccine serotype 19A increased in frequency from 2.1% to 6.6%. None of these changes can be attributed to PCV7 vaccine, as it was not in use in Belgium during the time period studied. There was evidence that MCNS clones flowed from West Flanders to Limburg.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/AAC.00358-08DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2533454PMC
September 2008