Sir Peter MacCallum Department of Oncology - Research Publications

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    Distinct modulation of IFNγ-induced transcription by BET bromodomain and catalytic P300/CBP inhibition in breast cancer
    Hogg, SJ ; Motorna, O ; Kearney, CJ ; Derrick, EB ; House, IG ; Todorovski, I ; Kelly, MJ ; Zethoven, M ; Bromberg, KD ; Lai, A ; Beavis, PA ; Shortt, J ; Johnstone, RW ; Vervoort, SJ (BMC, 2022-12)
    BACKGROUND: Interferon gamma (IFNγ) is a pro-inflammatory cytokine that directly activates the JAK/STAT pathway. However, the temporal dynamics of chromatin remodeling and transcriptional activation initiated by IFNγ have not been systematically profiled in an unbiased manner. Herein, we integrated transcriptomic and epigenomic profiling to characterize the acute epigenetic changes induced by IFNγ stimulation in a murine breast cancer model. RESULTS: We identified de novo activation of cis-regulatory elements bound by Irf1 that were characterized by increased chromatin accessibility, differential usage of pro-inflammatory enhancers, and downstream recruitment of BET proteins and RNA polymerase II. To functionally validate this hierarchical model of IFNγ-driven transcription, we applied selective antagonists of histone acetyltransferases P300/CBP or acetyl-lysine readers of the BET family. This highlighted that histone acetylation is an antecedent event in IFNγ-driven transcription, whereby targeting of P300/CBP acetyltransferase activity but not BET inhibition could curtail the epigenetic remodeling induced by IFNγ through suppression of Irf1 transactivation. CONCLUSIONS: These data highlight the ability for epigenetic therapies to reprogram pro-inflammatory gene expression, which may have therapeutic implications for anti-tumor immunity and inflammatory diseases.
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    Inhibition of pyrimidine biosynthesis targets protein translation in acute myeloid leukemia
    So, J ; Lewis, AC ; Smith, LK ; Stanley, K ; Franich, R ; Yoannidis, D ; Pijpers, L ; Dominguez, P ; Hogg, SJ ; Vervoort, SJ ; Brown, FC ; Johnstone, RW ; McDonald, G ; Ulanet, DB ; Murtie, J ; Gruber, E ; Kats, LM (WILEY, 2022-07-07)
    The mitochondrial enzyme dihydroorotate dehydrogenase (DHODH) catalyzes one of the rate-limiting steps in de novo pyrimidine biosynthesis, a pathway that provides essential metabolic precursors for nucleic acids, glycoproteins, and phospholipids. DHODH inhibitors (DHODHi) are clinically used for autoimmune diseases and are emerging as a novel class of anticancer agents, especially in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) where pyrimidine starvation was recently shown to reverse the characteristic differentiation block in AML cells. Herein, we show that DHODH blockade rapidly shuts down protein translation in leukemic stem cells (LSCs) and has potent and selective activity against multiple AML subtypes. Moreover, we find that ablation of CDK5, a gene that is recurrently deleted in AML and related disorders, increases the sensitivity of AML cells to DHODHi. Our studies provide important molecular insights and identify a potential biomarker for an emerging strategy to target AML.
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    Targeting histone acetylation dynamics and oncogenic transcription by catalytic P300/CBP inhibition
    Hogg, SJ ; Motorna, O ; Cluse, LA ; Johanson, TM ; Coughlan, HD ; Raviram, R ; Myers, RM ; Costacurta, M ; Todorovski, I ; Pijpers, L ; Bjelosevic, S ; Williams, T ; Huskins, SN ; Kearney, CJ ; Devlin, JR ; Fan, Z ; Jabbari, JS ; Martin, BP ; Fareh, M ; Kelly, MJ ; Dupere-Richer, D ; Sandow, JJ ; Feran, B ; Knight, D ; Khong, T ; Spencer, A ; Harrison, SJ ; Gregory, G ; Wickramasinghe, VO ; Webb, A ; Taberlay, PC ; Bromberg, KD ; Lai, A ; Papenfuss, AT ; Smyth, GK ; Allan, RS ; Licht, JD ; Landau, DA ; Abdel-Wahab, O ; Shortt, J ; Vervoort, SJ ; Johnstone, RW (CELL PRESS, 2021-05-20)
    To separate causal effects of histone acetylation on chromatin accessibility and transcriptional output, we used integrated epigenomic and transcriptomic analyses following acute inhibition of major cellular lysine acetyltransferases P300 and CBP in hematological malignancies. We found that catalytic P300/CBP inhibition dynamically perturbs steady-state acetylation kinetics and suppresses oncogenic transcriptional networks in the absence of changes to chromatin accessibility. CRISPR-Cas9 screening identified NCOR1 and HDAC3 transcriptional co-repressors as the principal antagonists of P300/CBP by counteracting acetylation turnover kinetics. Finally, deacetylation of H3K27 provides nucleation sites for reciprocal methylation switching, a feature that can be exploited therapeutically by concomitant KDM6A and P300/CBP inhibition. Overall, this study indicates that the steady-state histone acetylation-methylation equilibrium functions as a molecular rheostat governing cellular transcription that is amenable to therapeutic exploitation as an anti-cancer regimen.
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    Epigenetic Activation of Plasmacytoid DCs Drives IFNAR-Dependent Therapeutic Differentiation of AML
    Salmon, JM ; Todorovski, I ; Stanley, KL ; Bruedigam, C ; Kearney, CJ ; Martelotto, LG ; Rossello, F ; Semple, T ; Arnau, GM ; Zethoven, M ; Bots, M ; Bjelosevic, S ; Cluse, LA ; Fraser, PJ ; Litalien, V ; Vidacs, E ; Mcarthur, K ; Matthews, AY ; Gressier, E ; de Weerd, NA ; Lichte, J ; Kelly, MJ ; Hogg, SJ ; Hertzog, PJ ; Kats, LM ; Vervoort, SJ ; De Carvalho, DD ; Scheu, S ; Bedoui, S ; Kile, BT ; Lane, SW ; Perkins, AC ; Wei, AH ; Dominguez, PM ; Johnstone, RW (AMER ASSOC CANCER RESEARCH, 2022-06-02)
    UNLABELLED: Pharmacologic inhibition of epigenetic enzymes can have therapeutic benefit against hematologic malignancies. In addition to affecting tumor cell growth and proliferation, these epigenetic agents may induce antitumor immunity. Here, we discovered a novel immunoregulatory mechanism through inhibition of histone deacetylases (HDAC). In models of acute myeloid leukemia (AML), leukemia cell differentiation and therapeutic benefit mediated by the HDAC inhibitor (HDACi) panobinostat required activation of the type I interferon (IFN) pathway. Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDC) produced type I IFN after panobinostat treatment, through transcriptional activation of IFN genes concomitant with increased H3K27 acetylation at these loci. Depletion of pDCs abrogated panobinostat-mediated induction of type I IFN signaling in leukemia cells and impaired therapeutic efficacy, whereas combined treatment with panobinostat and IFNα improved outcomes in preclinical models. These discoveries offer a new therapeutic approach for AML and demonstrate that epigenetic rewiring of pDCs enhances antitumor immunity, opening the possibility of exploiting this approach for immunotherapies. SIGNIFICANCE: We demonstrate that HDACis induce terminal differentiation of AML through epigenetic remodeling of pDCs, resulting in production of type I IFN that is important for the therapeutic effects of HDACis. The study demonstrates the important functional interplay between the immune system and leukemias in response to HDAC inhibition. This article is highlighted in the In This Issue feature, p. 1397.
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    Whole genome CRISPR screening identifies TOP2B as a potential target for IMiD sensitization in multiple myeloma
    Costacurta, M ; Vervoort, SJ ; Hogg, SJ ; Martin, BP ; Johnstone, RW ; Shortt, J (FERRATA STORTI FOUNDATION, 2021-07)
    Not available.
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    CDK9 inhibition by dinaciclib potently suppresses Mcl-1 to induce durable apoptotic responses in aggressive MYC-driven B-cell lymphoma in vivo
    Gregory, GP ; Hogg, SJ ; Kats, LM ; Vidacs, E ; Baker, AJ ; Gilan, O ; Lefebure, M ; Martin, BP ; Dawson, MA ; Johnstone, RW ; Shortt, J (NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2015-06)
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    CDK13 cooperates with CDK12 to control global RNA polymerase II processivity
    Fan, Z ; Devlin, JR ; Hogg, SJ ; Doyle, MA ; Harrison, PF ; Todorovski, I ; Cluse, LA ; Knight, DA ; Sandow, JJ ; Gregory, G ; Fox, A ; Beilharz, TH ; Kwiatkowski, N ; Scott, NE ; Vidakovic, AT ; Kelly, GP ; Svejstrup, JQ ; Geyer, M ; Gray, NS ; Vervoort, SJ ; Johnstone, RW (AMER ASSOC ADVANCEMENT SCIENCE, 2020-04-01)
    The RNA polymerase II (POLII)-driven transcription cycle is tightly regulated at distinct checkpoints by cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) and their cognate cyclins. The molecular events underpinning transcriptional elongation, processivity, and the CDK-cyclin pair(s) involved remain poorly understood. Using CRISPR-Cas9 homology-directed repair, we generated analog-sensitive kinase variants of CDK12 and CDK13 to probe their individual and shared biological and molecular roles. Single inhibition of CDK12 or CDK13 induced transcriptional responses associated with cellular growth signaling pathways and/or DNA damage, with minimal effects on cell viability. In contrast, dual kinase inhibition potently induced cell death, which was associated with extensive genome-wide transcriptional changes including widespread use of alternative 3' polyadenylation sites. At the molecular level, dual kinase inhibition resulted in the loss of POLII CTD phosphorylation and greatly reduced POLII elongation rates and processivity. These data define substantial redundancy between CDK12 and CDK13 and identify both as fundamental regulators of global POLII processivity and transcription elongation.
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    CDK13 cooperates with CDK12 to control global RNA polymerase II processivity.
    Fan, Z ; Devlin, JR ; Hogg, SJ ; Doyle, MA ; Harrison, PF ; Todorovski, I ; Cluse, LA ; Knight, DA ; Sandow, JJ ; Gregory, G ; Fox, A ; Beilharz, TH ; Kwiatkowski, N ; Scott, NE ; Vidakovic, AT ; Kelly, GP ; Svejstrup, JQ ; Geyer, M ; Gray, NS ; Vervoort, SJ ; Johnstone, RW (AMER ASSOC ADVANCEMENT SCIENCE, 2020-05)
    The RNA polymerase II (POLII)-driven transcription cycle is tightly regulated at distinct checkpoints by cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) and their cognate cyclins. The molecular events underpinning transcriptional elongation, processivity, and the CDK-cyclin pair(s) involved remain poorly understood. Using CRISPR-Cas9 homology-directed repair, we generated analog-sensitive kinase variants of CDK12 and CDK13 to probe their individual and shared biological and molecular roles. Single inhibition of CDK12 or CDK13 induced transcriptional responses associated with cellular growth signaling pathways and/or DNA damage, with minimal effects on cell viability. In contrast, dual kinase inhibition potently induced cell death, which was associated with extensive genome-wide transcriptional changes including widespread use of alternative 3' polyadenylation sites. At the molecular level, dual kinase inhibition resulted in the loss of POLII CTD phosphorylation and greatly reduced POLII elongation rates and processivity. These data define substantial redundancy between CDK12 and CDK13 and identify both as fundamental regulators of global POLII processivity and transcription elongation.
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    The SMAC mimetic, LCL-161, reduces survival in aggressive MYC-driven lymphoma while promoting susceptibility to endotoxic shock
    West, AC ; Martin, BP ; Andrews, DA ; Hogg, SJ ; Banerjee, A ; Grigoriadis, G ; Johnstone, RW ; Shortt, J (NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2016-04)
    Inhibitor of apoptosis proteins (IAPs) antagonize caspase activation and regulate death receptor signaling cascades. LCL-161 is a small molecule second mitochondrial activator of caspase (SMAC) mimetic, which both disengages IAPs from caspases and induces proteasomal degradation of cIAP-1 and -2, resulting in altered signaling through the NFκB pathway, enhanced TNF production and sensitization to apoptosis mediated by the extrinsic pathway. SMAC mimetics are undergoing clinical evaluation in a range of hematological malignancies. Burkitt-like lymphomas are hallmarked by a low apoptotic threshold, conveying sensitivity to a range of apoptosis-inducing stimuli. While evaluating LCL-161 in the Eμ-Myc model of aggressive Burkitt-like lymphoma, we noted unexpected resistance to apoptosis induction despite 'on-target' IAP degradation and NFκB activation. Moreover, LCL-161 treatment of lymphoma-bearing mice resulted in apparent disease acceleration concurrent to augmented inflammatory cytokine-release in the same animals. Indiscriminate exposure of lymphoma patients to SMAC mimetics may therefore be detrimental due to both unanticipated prolymphoma effects and increased susceptibility to endotoxic shock.