Melanoma Research Laboratory

Melbourne, Australia

Melanoma Research Laboratory

Melbourne, Australia
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Dewaele M.,Catholic University of Leuven | Tabaglio T.,Agency for Science, Technology and Research Singapore | Tabaglio T.,National University of Singapore | Willekens K.,Catholic University of Leuven | And 28 more authors.
Journal of Clinical Investigation | Year: 2016

MDM4 is a promising target for cancer therapy, as it is undetectable in most normal adult tissues but often upregulated in cancer cells to dampen p53 tumor-suppressor function. The mechanisms that underlie MDM4 upregulation in cancer cells are largely unknown. Here, we have shown that this key oncogenic event mainly depends on a specific alternative splicing switch. We determined that while a nonsense-mediated, decay-targeted isoform of MDM4 (MDM4-S) is produced in normal adult tissues as a result of exon 6 skipping, enhanced exon 6 inclusion leads to expression of full-length MDM4 in a large number of human cancers. Although this alternative splicing event is likely regulated by multiple splicing factors, we identified the SRSF3 oncoprotein as a key enhancer of exon 6 inclusion. In multiple human melanoma cell lines and in melanoma patient- derived xenograft (PDX) mouse models, antisense oligonucleotide-mediated (ASO-mediated) skipping of exon 6 decreased MDM4 abundance, inhibited melanoma growth, and enhanced sensitivity to MAPK-targeting therapeutics. Additionally, ASO-based MDM4 targeting reduced diffuse large B cell lymphoma PDX growth. As full-length MDM4 is enhanced in multiple human tumors, our data indicate that this strategy is applicable to a wide range of tumor types. We conclude that enhanced MDM4 exon 6 inclusion is a common oncogenic event and has potential as a clinically compatible therapeutic target.


Tikoo A.,The Surgical Center | Tikoo A.,University of Melbourne | Roh V.,The Surgical Center | Montgomery K.G.,The Surgical Center | And 12 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

PIK3CA, the gene coding for the p110α subunit of phosphoinositide 3-kinase, is frequently mutated in a variety of human tumors including breast cancers. To better understand the role of mutant PIK3CA in the initiation and/or progression of breast cancer, we have generated mice with a conditional knock-in of the common activating mutation, Pik3caH1047R, into one allele of the endogenous gene in the mammary gland. These mice developed a ductal anaplasia and hyperplasia by 6 weeks of age characterized by multi-layering of the epithelial lining of the mammary ducts and expansion of the luminal progenitor (Lin-; CD29lo; CD24+; CD61+) cell population. The Pik3caH1047R expressing mice eventually develop mammary tumors with 100% penetrance but with a long latency (>12 months). This is significantly longer than has been reported for transgenic models where expression of the mutant Pik3ca is driven by an exogenous promoter. Histological analysis of the tumors formed revealed predominantly ERα-positive fibroadenomas, carcinosarcomas and sarcomas. In vitro induction of Pik3caH1047R in immortalized mammary epithelial cells also resulted in tumor formation when injected into the mammary fat pad of immunodeficient recipient mice. This novel model, which reproduces the scenario of a heterozygous somatic mutation occurring in the endogenous PIK3CA gene, will thus be a valuable tool for investigating the role of Pik3caH1047R mutation in mammary tumorigenesis both in vivo and in vitro. © 2012 Tikoo et al.


McGrath M.J.,Monash University | Binge L.C.,Monash University | Sriratana A.,Monash University | Wang H.,Monash University | And 13 more authors.
Cancer Research | Year: 2013

It is now clear that progression from localized prostate cancer to incurable castrate-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) is driven by continued androgen receptor (AR), signaling independently of androgen. Thus, there remains a strong rationale to suppress AR activity as the single most important therapeutic goal in CRPC treatment. Although the expression of ligand-independent AR splice variants confers resistance to AR-targeted therapy and progression to lethal castrate-resistant cancer, the molecular regulators of AR activity in CRPC remain unclear, in particular those pathways that potentiate the function of mutant AR in CRPC. Here, we identify FHL2 as a novel coactivator of ligand-independent AR variants that are important in CRPC. We show that the nuclear localization of FHL2 and coactivation of the AR is driven by calpain cleavage of the cytoskeletal protein filamin, a pathway that shows differential activation in prostate epithelial versus prostate cancer cell lines.Wefurther identify a novel FHL2-AR-filamin transcription complex, revealing how deregulation of this axis promotes the constitutive, ligand-independent activation of AR variants, which are present in CRPC. Critically, the calpain-cleaved filamin fragment and FHL2 are present in the nucleus only in CRPC and not benign prostate tissue or localized prostate cancer. Thus, our work provides mechanistic insight into the enhanced AR activation, most notably of the recently identified AR variants, including AR-V7 that drives CRPC progression. Furthermore, our results identify the first disease-specific mechanism for deregulation of FHL2 nuclear localization during cancer progression. These results offer general import beyond prostate cancer, given that nuclear FHL2 is characteristic of other human cancers where oncogenic transcription factors that drive disease are activated like the AR in prostate cancer. © 2013 American Association for Cancer Research.


Ooms L.M.,Monash University | Binge L.C.,Monash University | Davies E.M.,Monash University | Rahman P.,Monash University | And 16 more authors.
Cancer Cell | Year: 2015

Metastasis is the major cause of breast cancer mortality. Phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) generated PtdIns(3,4,5)P3 activates AKT, which promotes breast cancer cell proliferation and regulates migration. To date, none of the inositol polyphosphate 5-phosphatases that inhibit PI3K/AKT signaling have been reported as tumor suppressors in breast cancer. Here, we show depletion of the inositol polyphosphate 5-phosphatase PIPP (INPP5J) increases breast cancer cell transformation, but reduces cell migration and invasion. Pipp ablation accelerates oncogene-driven breast cancer tumor growth in vivo, but paradoxically reduces metastasis by regulating AKT1-dependent tumor cell migration. PIPP mRNA expression is reduced in human ER-negative breast cancers associated with reduced long-term outcome. Collectively, our findings identify PIPP as a suppressor of oncogenic PI3K/AKT signaling in breast cancer. Ooms et al. identify the inositol polyphosphate 5-phosphatase PIPP as a suppressor of oncogenic PI3K/AKT signaling in breast cancer. PIPP depletion increases transformation and accelerates oncogene-driven tumor growth in vivo, while paradoxically reducing cell migration, invasion, and metastasis. © 2015 Elsevier Inc.


Gembarska A.,Center for the Biology of Disease | Gembarska A.,Catholic University of Leuven | Luciani F.,Center for the Biology of Disease | Luciani F.,Catholic University of Leuven | And 29 more authors.
Nature Medicine | Year: 2012

The inactivation of the p53 tumor suppressor pathway, which often occurs through mutations in TP53 (encoding tumor protein 53) is a common step in human cancer. However, in melanoma-A highly chemotherapy-resistant disease-TP53 mutations are rare, raising the possibility that this cancer uses alternative ways to overcome p53-mediated tumor suppression. Here we show that Mdm4 p53 binding protein homolog (MDM4), a negative regulator of p53, is upregulated in a substantial proportion (∼65%) of stage I-IV human melanomas and that melanocyte-specific Mdm4 overexpression enhanced tumorigenesis in a mouse model of melanoma induced by the oncogene Nras. MDM4 promotes the survival of human metastatic melanoma by antagonizing p53 proapoptotic function. Notably, inhibition of the MDM4-p53 interaction restored p53 function in melanoma cells, resulting in increased sensitivity to cytotoxic chemotherapy and to inhibitors of the BRAF (V600E) oncogene. Our results identify MDM4 as a key determinant of impaired p53 function in human melanoma and designate MDM4 as a promising target for antimelanoma combination therapy. © 2012 Nature America, Inc. All rights reserved.


Schroder J.,Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research | Schroder J.,University of Melbourne | Hsu A.,Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research | Hsu A.,University of Melbourne | And 15 more authors.
Bioinformatics | Year: 2014

Motivation: Methods for detecting somatic genome rearrangements in tumours using next-generation sequencing are vital in cancer genomics. Available algorithms use one or more sources of evidence, such as read depth, paired-end reads or split reads to predict structural variants. However, the problem remains challenging due to the significant computational burden and high false-positive or false-negative rates.Results: In this article, we present Socrates (SOft Clip re-alignment To idEntify Structural variants), a highly efficient and effective method for detecting genomic rearrangements in tumours that uses only split-read data. Socrates has single-nucleotide resolution, identifies micro-homologies and untemplated sequence at break points, has high sensitivity and high specificity and takes advantage of parallelism for efficient use of resources. We demonstrate using simulated and real data that Socrates performs well compared with a number of existing structural variant detection tools. © 2014 The Author.


Shackleton M.,Melanoma Research Laboratory | Shackleton M.,University of Melbourne
Journal of Investigative Dermatology | Year: 2011

Cellular heterogeneity is a frequently noted feature of melanoma. As reported in this issue, Kupas et al. identified heterogeneous expression of receptor activator of nuclear factor-B (RANK) in melanoma cells in tumors and peripheral blood from patients. Increased expression of RANK was associated with the presence of metastatic disease and increased tumorigenicity in melanoma cells, raising the possibility that RANK signaling contributes to melanoma progression. © 2011 The Society for Investigative Dermatology.

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