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ItemInhibition of RNA polymerase I transcription initiation by CX-5461 activates non-canonical ATM/ATR signalingQuin, J ; Chan, KT ; Devlin, JR ; Cameron, DP ; Diesch, J ; Cullinane, C ; Ahern, J ; Khot, A ; Hein, N ; George, AJ ; Hannan, KM ; Poortinga, G ; Sheppard, KE ; Khanna, KK ; Johnstone, RW ; Drygin, D ; McArthur, GA ; Pearson, RB ; Sanij, E ; Hannan, RD (IMPACT JOURNALS LLC, 2016-08-02)RNA polymerase I (Pol I)-mediated transcription of the ribosomal RNA genes (rDNA) is confined to the nucleolus and is a rate-limiting step for cell growth and proliferation. Inhibition of Pol I by CX-5461 can selectively induce p53-mediated apoptosis of tumour cells in vivo. Currently, CX-5461 is in clinical trial for patients with advanced haematological malignancies (Peter Mac, Melbourne). Here we demonstrate that CX-5461 also induces p53-independent cell cycle checkpoints mediated by ATM/ATR signaling in the absence of DNA damage. Further, our data demonstrate that the combination of drugs targeting ATM/ATR signaling and CX-5461 leads to enhanced therapeutic benefit in treating p53-null tumours in vivo, which are normally refractory to each drug alone. Mechanistically, we show that CX-5461 induces an unusual chromatin structure in which transcriptionally competent relaxed rDNA repeats are devoid of transcribing Pol I leading to activation of ATM signaling within the nucleoli. Thus, we propose that acute inhibition of Pol transcription initiation by CX-5461 induces a novel nucleolar stress response that can be targeted to improve therapeutic efficacy.
ItemAKT signalling is required for ribosomal RNA synthesis and progression of E mu-Myc B-cell lymphoma in vivoDevlin, JR ; Hannan, KM ; Ng, PY ; Bywater, MJ ; Shortt, J ; Cullinane, C ; McArthur, GA ; Johnstone, RW ; Hannan, RD ; Pearson, RB (WILEY-BLACKWELL, 2013-11-01)The dysregulation of PI3K/AKT/mTORC1 signalling and/or hyperactivation of MYC are observed in a high proportion of human cancers, and together they form a 'super signalling' network mediating malignancy. A fundamental downstream action of this signalling network is up-regulation of ribosome biogenesis and subsequent alterations in the patterns of translation and increased protein synthesis, which are thought to be critical for AKT/MYC-driven oncogenesis. We have demonstrated that AKT and MYC cooperate to drive ribosomal DNA (rDNA) transcription and ribosome biogenesis, with AKT being essential for rDNA transcription and in vitro survival of lymphoma cells isolated from a MYC-driven model of B-cell lymphoma (Eμ-Myc) [Chan JC et al., (2011) Science Signalling 4, ra56]. Here we show that the allosteric AKT inhibitor MK-2206 rapidly and potently antagonizes rDNA transcription in Eμ-Myc B-cell lymphomas in vivo, and this is associated with a rapid reduction in indicators of disease burden, including spleen weight and the abundance of tumour cells in both the circulation and lymph nodes. Extended treatment of tumour-bearing mice with MK-2206 resulted in a significant delay in disease progression, associated with increased B-cell lymphoma apoptosis. Our findings suggest that malignant diseases characterized by unrestrained ribosome biogenesis may be vulnerable to therapeutic strategies that target the PI3K/AKT/mTORC1/MYC growth control network.
ItemTargeting the nucleolus for cancer interventionQuin, JE ; Devlin, JR ; Cameron, D ; Hannan, KM ; Pearson, RB ; Hannan, RD (ELSEVIER, 2014-06-01)The contribution of the nucleolus to cancer is well established with respect to its traditional role in facilitating ribosome biogenesis and proliferative capacity. More contemporary studies however, infer that nucleoli contribute a much broader role in malignant transformation. Specifically, extra-ribosomal functions of the nucleolus position it as a central integrator of cellular proliferation and stress signaling, and are emerging as important mechanisms for modulating how oncogenes and tumor suppressors operate in normal and malignant cells. The dependence of certain tumor cells to co-opt nucleolar processes to maintain their cancer phenotypes has now clearly been demonstrated by the application of small molecule inhibitors of RNA Polymerase I to block ribosomal DNA transcription and disrupt nucleolar function (Bywater et al., 2012 ). These drugs, which selectively kill tumor cells in vivo while sparing normal cells, have now progressed to clinical trials. It is likely that we have only just begun to scratch the surface of the potential of the nucleolus as a new target for cancer therapy, with "suppression of nucleolar stress" representing an emerging "hallmark" of cancer. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Role of the Nucleolus in Human Disease.
ItemCombined inhibition of PI3K-related DNA damage response kinases and mTORC1 induces apoptosis in MYC-driven B-cell lymphomasShortt, J ; Martin, BP ; Newbold, A ; Hannan, KM ; Devlin, JR ; Baker, AJ ; Ralli, R ; Cullinane, C ; Schmitt, CA ; Reimann, M ; Hall, MN ; Wall, M ; Hannan, RD ; Pearson, RB ; McArthur, GA ; Johnstone, RW (AMER SOC HEMATOLOGY, 2013-04-11)Pharmacological strategies capable of directly targeting MYC are elusive. Previous studies have shown that MYC-driven lymphomagenesis is associated with mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) activation and a MYC-evoked DNA damage response (DDR) transduced by phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K)-related kinases (DNA-PK, ATM, and ATR). Here we report that BEZ235, a multitargeted pan-PI3K/dual-mTOR inhibitor, potently killed primary Myc-driven B-cell lymphomas and human cell lines bearing IG-cMYC translocations. Using pharmacologic and genetic dissection of PI3K/mTOR signaling, dual DDR/mTORC1 inhibition was identified as a key mediator of apoptosis. Moreover, apoptosis was initiated at drug concentrations insufficient to antagonize PI3K/mTORC2-regulated AKT phosphorylation. p53-independent induction of the proapoptotic BH3-only protein BMF was identified as a mechanism by which dual DDR/mTORC1 inhibition caused lymphoma cell death. BEZ235 treatment induced apoptotic tumor regressions in vivo that correlated with suppression of mTORC1-regulated substrates and reduced H2AX phosphorylation and also with feedback phosphorylation of AKT. These mechanistic studies hold important implications for the use of multitargeted PI3K inhibitors in the treatment of hematologic malignancies. In particular, the newly elucidated role of PI3K-related DDR kinases in response to PI3K inhibitors offers a novel therapeutic opportunity for the treatment of hematologic malignancies with an MYC-driven DDR.