Τρίτη, 7 Μαΐου 2019

Mammary Gland Biology and Neoplasia

Metformin and Breast Cancer: Molecular Targets

Abstract

Metformin has been the first-line drug for the treatment of type II diabetes mellitus for decades, being presently the most widely prescribed antihyperglycemic drug. Retrospective studies associate the use of metformin with a reduction in cancer incidence and cancer-related death. However, despite extensive research about the molecular effects of metformin in cancer cells, its mode of action remains controversial. The major molecular targets of metformin include complex I of the mitochondrial electron transport chain, adenosine monophosphate (AMP)-activated protein kinase (AMPK), and mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1), but AMPK-independent effects of metformin have also been described. Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer-related morbidity and mortality among women worldwide. Several studies have reinforced a link between breast cancer risk and diabetes. Moreover, metformin significantly reduces breast cancer risk, compared to patients who are not using metformin and is independent of diabetes status. In this review, we summarize the current molecular evidence to elucidate metformin's mode of action against breast cancer cells.



Correction to: The Emerging Roles of Steroid Hormone Receptors in Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS) of the Breast

The original version of this article unfortunately contained mistakes.



A Transgenic MMTV-Flippase Mouse Line for Molecular Engineering in Mammary Gland and Breast Cancer Mouse Models

Abstract

Genetically engineered mouse models have become an indispensable tool for breast cancer research. Combination of multiple site-specific recombination systems such as Cre/loxP and Flippase (Flp)/Frt allows for engineering of sophisticated, multi-layered conditional mouse models. Here, we report the generation and characterization of a novel transgenic mouse line expressing a mouse codon-optimized Flp under the control of the mouse mammary tumor virus (MMTV) promoter. These mice show robust Flp-mediated recombination in luminal mammary gland and breast cancer cells but no Flp activity in non-mammary tissues, with the exception of limited activity in salivary glands. These mice provide a unique tool for studying mammary gland biology and carcinogenesis in mice.



Dissecting Tissue-Specific Super-Enhancers by Integrating Genome-Wide Analyses and CRISPR/Cas9 Genome Editing

Abstract

Recent advances in genome-wide sequencing technologies have provided researchers with unprecedented opportunities to discover the genomic structures of gene regulatory units in living organisms. In particular, the integration of ChIP-seq, RNA-seq, and DNase-seq techniques has facilitated the mapping of a new class of regulatory elements. These elements, called super-enhancers, can regulate cell-type-specific gene sets and even fine-tune gene expression regulation in response to external stimuli, and have become a hot topic in genome biology. However, there is scant genetic evidence demonstrating their unique biological relevance and the mechanisms underlying these biological functions. In this review, we describe a robust genome-wide strategy for mapping cell-type-specific enhancers or super-enhancers in the mammary genome. In this strategy, genome-wide screening of active enhancer clusters that are co-occupied by mammary-enriched transcription factors, co-factors, and active enhancer marks is used to identify bona fide mammary tissue-specific super-enhancers. The in vivo function of these super-enhancers and their associated regulatory elements may then be investigated in various ways using the advanced CRISPR/Cas9 genome-editing technology. Based on our experience targeting various mammary genomic sites using CRISPR/Cas9 in mice, we comprehensively discuss the molecular consequences of the different targeting methods, such as the number of gRNAs and the dependence on their simultaneous or sequential injections. We also mention the considerations that are essential for obtaining accurate results and shed light on recent progress that has been made in developing modified CRISPR/Cas9 genome-editing techniques. In the future, the coupling of advanced genome-wide sequencing and genome-editing technologies could provide new insights into the complex genetic regulatory networks involved in mammary-gland development.



Role of Liver X Receptor in Mastitis Therapy and Regulation of Milk Fat Synthesis

Abstract

Mastitis is important disease that causes huge economic losses in the dairy industry. In recent years, antibiotic therapy has become the primary treatment for mastitis, however, due to drug residue in milk and food safety factors, we lack safe and effective drugs for treating mastitis. Therefore, new targets and drugs are urgently needed to control mastitis. LXRα, one of the main members of the nuclear receptor superfamily, is reported to play important roles in metabolism, infection and immunity. Activation of LXRα could inhibit LPS-induced mastitis. Furthermore, LXRα is reported to enhance milk fat production, thus, LXRα may serve as a new target for mastitis therapy and regulation of milk fat synthesis. This review summarizes the effects of LXRα in regulating milk fat synthesis and treatment of mastitis and highlights the potential agonists involved in both issues.



Androgen Receptor Signalling Promotes a Luminal Phenotype in Mammary Epithelial Cells

Abstract

Androgens influence mammary gland development but the specific role of the androgen receptor (AR) in mammary function is largely unknown. We identified cell subsets that express AR in vivo and determined the effect of AR activation and transgenic AR inhibition on sub-populations of the normal mouse mammary epithelium by flow cytometry and immunohistochemistry. Immunolocalisation of AR with markers of lineage identity was also performed in human breast tissues. AR activation in vivo significantly decreased the proportion of basal cells, and caused an accumulation of cells that expressed a basal cell marker but exhibited morphological features of luminal identity. Conversely, in AR null mice the proportion of basal mammary epithelial cells was significantly increased. Inhibition of AR increased basal but not luminal progenitor cell activity in vitro. A small population of AR-positive cells in a basal-to-luminal phenotype transition was also evident in human breast lobules. Collectively, these data support a role for AR in promoting a luminal phenotype in mammary epithelial cells.



STAT5-Driven Enhancers Tightly Control Temporal Expression of Mammary-Specific Genes

Abstract

The de novo formation of milk-secreting mammary epithelium during pregnancy is regulated by prolactin through activation of the transcription factor STAT5, which stimulates the expression of several hundred mammary-specific genes. In addition to its key role in activating gene expression in mammary tissue, STAT5, which is ubiquitously expressed in most cell types, implements T cell-specific programs controlled by interleukins. However, the mechanisms by which STAT5 controls cell-specific genetic programs activated by distinct cytokines remain relatively unknown. Integration of data from genome-wide surveys of chromatin markers and transcription factor binding at regulatory elements may shed light on the mechanisms that drive cell-specific programs. Here, we have illustrated how STAT5 controls cell-specific gene expression through its concentration and an auto-regulatory enhancer supporting its high levels in mammary tissue. The unique genomic features of STAT5-driven enhancers or super-enhancers that regulate mammary-specific genes and their dynamic remodeling in response to pregnancy hormone levels are described. We have further provided biological evidence supporting the in vivo function of a STAT5-driven super-enhancer with the aid of CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing. Finally, we discuss how the functions of mammary-specific super-enhancers are confined by the zinc finger protein, CTCF, to allow exclusive activation of mammary-specific genes without affecting common neighboring genes. This review comprehensively summarizes the molecular pathways underlying differential control of cell-specific gene sets by STAT5 and provides novel insights into STAT5-dependent mammary physiology.



A Novel 3-Dimensional Co-culture Method Reveals a Partial Mesenchymal to Epithelial Transition in Breast Cancer Cells Induced by Adipocytes

Abstract

Cancer metastases are accountable for almost 90% of all human cancer related deaths including from breast cancer (BC). Adipocytes can alter the tumor microenvironment, which can promote metastasis by inducing an epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in BC cells. However, the role of adipocytes during the mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition (MET), that can be important in metastasis, is not clear. To understand the effect of adipocytes on the BC progression, there is a requirement for a better in vitro 3-dimensional (3D) co-culture system that mimics the breast tissue and allows for more accurate analysis of EMT and MET. We developed a co-culture system to analyze the relationship of BC cells grown in a 3D culture with adipocytes. We found that adipocytes and adipocyte-derived conditioned media, but not pre-adipocytes, caused the mesenchymal MDA-MB-231 and Hs578t cells to form significantly more epithelial-like structures when compared to the typical stellate colonies formed in control 3D cultures. SUM159 cells and MCF7 cells had a less dramatic shift as they normally have more epithelial-like structure in 3D culture. Biomarker expression analysis revealed that adipocytes only induced a partial MET with proliferation unaffected. In addition, adipocytes had reduced lipid droplet size when co-cultured with BC cells. Thus, we found that physical interaction with adipocytes and ECM changes the mesenchymal phenotype of BC cells in a manner that could promote secondary tumor formation.



Gap Junctions and Wnt Signaling in the Mammary Gland: a Cross-Talk?

Abstract

Connexins (Cxs), the building blocks of gap junctions (GJs), exhibit spatiotemporal patterns of expression and regulate the development and differentiation of the mammary gland, acting via channel-dependent and channel-independent mechanisms. Impaired Cx expression and localization are reported in breast cancer, suggesting a tumor suppressive role for Cxs. The signaling events that mediate the role of GJs in the development and tumorigenesis of the mammary gland remain poorly identified. The Wnt pathways, encompassing the canonical or the Wnt/β-catenin pathway and the noncanonical β-catenin-independent pathway, also play important roles in those processes. Indeed, aberrant Wnt signaling is associated with breast cancer. Despite the coincident roles of Cxs and Wnt pathways, the cross-talk in the breast tissue is poorly defined, although this is reported in a number of other tissues. Our previous studies revealed a channel-independent role for Cx43 in inducing differentiation or suppressing tumorigenesis of mammary epithelial cells by acting as a negative regulator of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway. Here, we provide a brief overview of mammary gland development, with emphasis on the role of Cxs in development and tumorigenesis of this tissue. We also discuss the role of Wnt signaling in similar contexts, and review the literature illustrating interplay between Cxs and Wnt pathways.



In Vitro Models for Studying Invasive Transitions of Ductal Carcinoma In Situ

Abstract

About one fourth of all newly identified cases of breast carcinoma are diagnoses of breast ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). Since we cannot yet distinguish DCIS cases that would remain indolent from those that may progress to life-threatening invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC), almost all women undergo aggressive treatment. In order to allow for more rational individualized treatment, we and others are developing in vitro models to identify and validate druggable pathways that mediate the transition of DCIS to IDC. These models range from conventional two-dimensional (2D) monolayer cultures on plastic to 3D cultures in natural or synthetic matrices. Some models consist solely of DCIS cells, either cell lines or primary cells. Others are co-cultures that include additional cell types present in the normal or cancerous human breast. The 3D co-culture models more accurately mimic structural and functional changes in breast architecture that accompany the transition of DCIS to IDC. Mechanistic studies of the dynamic and temporal changes associated with this transition are facilitated by adapting the in vitro models to engineered microfluidic platforms. Ultimately, the goal is to create in vitro models that can serve as a reproducible preclinical screen for testing therapeutic strategies that will reduce progression of DCIS to IDC. This review will discuss the in vitro models that are currently available, as well as the progress that has been made using them to understand DCIS pathobiology.



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