Cancer Biology


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0 Q&A 2234 Views Feb 5, 2022

Cells sense and respond to mitogens by activating a cascade of signaling events, primarily mediated by tyrosine phosphorylation (pY). Because of its key roles in cellular homeostasis, deregulation of this signaling is often linked to oncogenesis. To understand the mechanisms underlying these signaling pathway aberrations, it is necessary to quantify tyrosine phosphorylation on a global scale in cancer cell models. However, the majority of the protein phosphorylation events occur on serine (86%) and threonine (12%) residues, whereas only 2% of phosphorylation events occur on tyrosine residues (Olsen et al., 2006). The low stoichiometry of tyrosine phosphorylation renders it difficult to quantify cellular pY events comprehensively with high mass accuracy and reproducibility. Here, we describe a detailed protocol for isolating and quantifying tyrosine phosphorylated peptides from drug-perturbed, growth factor-stimulated cancer cells, using immunoaffinity purification and tandem mass tags (TMT) coupled with mass spectrometry.

0 Q&A 3844 Views Aug 20, 2020
Electric Cell-substrate Impedance Sensing (ECIS) is an automated method that can be used to quantify processes such as cell attachment, growth, migration and barrier functions (i.e., the properties of tight junctions). The method provides simultaneous information on cell number and tight junction function by detecting electric parameters of cells grown on electrodes. Samples are probed with small alternating current (AC) over a range of frequencies, and changes in capacitance and impedance are measured over time. Capacitance reflects the degree of electrode coverage by cells, that correlates with cell number, and can be used to assess cell proliferation or migration. Impedance values inform about barrier function. Obtaining real-time simultaneous information on these parameters is unique to this system and is of great value for addressing fundamental questions such as the role of tight junction proteins in cell growth and migration. This protocol describes the use of ECIS to follow cell growth and tight junction-dependent barrier generation in tubular epithelial cells. We used this method to explore how depleting claudin-2, a tight junction protein affects tubular cell growth and barrier function. During the process, cells are transfected with control or claudin-2-specific siRNA, and 24h later plated on electrodes. ECIS automatically collects information on cell growth and barrier as the monolayer develops. The data are initially analyzed using the ECIS software and exported into a graph software for further processing.
0 Q&A 7750 Views Jul 20, 2020
The CRISPR/Cas9 system is a powerful tool for genome editing, wherein the RNA-guided nuclease Cas9 can be directed to introduce double-stranded breaks (DSBs) at a targeted locus. In mammalian cells, these DSBs are typically repaired through error-prone processes, resulting in insertions or deletions (indels) at the targeted locus. Researchers can use these Cas9-mediated lesions to probe the consequences of loss-of-function perturbations in genes of interest. Here, we describe an optimized protocol to identify specific genes required for cancer cell fitness through a CRISPR-mediated cellular competition assay. Identifying these genetic dependencies is of utmost importance, as they provide potential targets for anti-cancer drug development. This protocol provides researchers with a robust and scalable approach to investigate gene dependencies in a variety of cell lines and cancer types and to validate the results of high-throughput or whole-genome screens.
0 Q&A 4814 Views Nov 5, 2019
Advances in fluorescence microscopy (FM), electron microscopy (EM), and correlative light and EM (CLEM) offer unprecedented opportunities for studying diverse proteins and nanostructures involved in fundamental cell biology. It is now possible to visualize and quantify the spatial organization of cellular proteins and other macromolecules by FM, EM, and CLEM. However, tagging and tracking cellular proteins across size scales is restricted by the scarcity of methods for attaching appropriate reporter chemistries to target proteins. Namely, there are few genetic tags compatible with EM. To overcome these issues we developed Versatile Interacting Peptide (VIP) tags, genetically-encoded peptide tags that can be used to image proteins by fluorescence and EM. VIPER, a VIP tag, can be used to label cellular proteins with bright, photo-stable fluorophores for FM or electron-dense nanoparticles for EM. In this Bio-Protocol, we provide an instructional guide for implementing VIPER for imaging a cell-surface receptor by CLEM. This protocol is complemented by two other Bio-Protocols outlining the use of VIPER (Doh et al., 2019a and 2019b).
0 Q&A 4313 Views Nov 5, 2019
Genetically-encoded tags are useful tools for multicolor and multi-scale cellular imaging. Versatile Interacting Peptide (VIP) tags, such as VIPER, are new genetically-encoded tags that can be used in various imaging applications. VIP tags consist of a coiled-coil heterodimer, with one peptide serving as the genetic tag and the other (“probe peptide”) delivering a reporter compatible with imaging. Heterodimer formation is rapid and specific, allowing proteins to be selectively labeled for live-cell and fixed-cell imaging. In this Bio-Protocol, we include a detailed guide for implementing the VIPER technology for imaging receptors on live cells and intracellular targets in fixed cells. This protocol is complemented by two other Bio-Protocols outlining the use of VIPER (Doh et al., 2019a and 2019b).
0 Q&A 4230 Views Nov 5, 2019
Versatile Interacting Peptide (VIP) tags are a new class of genetically-encoded tag designed for imaging cellular proteins by fluorescence and electron microscopy. In 2018, we reported the VIPER tag (Doh et al., 2018), which contains two elements: a genetically-encoded peptide tag (i.e., CoilE) and a probe peptide (i.e., CoilR). These two peptides deliver contrast to a protein of interest by forming a specific, high-affinity heterodimer. The probe peptide was designed with a single cysteine residue for site-specific modification via thiol-maleimide chemistry. This feature can be used to attach a variety of biophysical reporters to the peptide, including bright fluorophores for fluorescence microscopy or electron-dense nanoparticles for electron microscopy. In this Bio-Protocol, we describe our methods for expressing and purifying recombinant CoilR. Additionally, we describe protocols for making fluorescent or biotinylated probe peptides for labeling CoilE-tagged cellular proteins. This protocol is complemented by two other Bio-Protocols outlining the use of VIPER (Doh et al., 2019a and 2019b).
0 Q&A 4986 Views Jul 20, 2019
Astrocytoma is an invasive carcinoma occurring in the nervous system and currently lacks effective treatment options. A deeper understanding of the mechanisms of tumorigenesis and tumor progression is needed in order to develop novel therapeutic strategies. Recent advances in in vitro culture systems have demonstrated that the use of three-dimensional (3D) culture models could be more relevant for this purpose as compared to monolayer or two-dimensional (2D) models due to their resemblance to in vivo cancer pathology. High-throughput techniques such as RNA sequencing, microarray analyses and cloning could provide useful insights into the relevance of these systems to the native tissue. Previous studies have reported RNA extraction protocols needed for such applications. We have modified these protocols to suit the isolation of total RNA from monolayer and hydrogel cultures of astrocytoma established using basement membrane matrix, GeltrexTM. We have used this method to demonstrate the differences in the expression of genes involved in autophagy, a process deregulated in many cancer types, in monolayer and hydrogel cultures using quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). This protocol can be adopted by the researchers who wish to understand the molecular basis of gene expression in hydrogel cultures of normal as well as cancer cell lines.
0 Q&A 4574 Views May 5, 2019
Heterogeneous prostatic carcinoma-associated fibroblasts (CAF) contribute to tumor progression. This was established using transgenic mouse models. Paracrine interactions between fibroblasts and epithelial cells were further interrogated using isolated 2D cell culture systems, but 3D culture systems currently being developed can better mimic reciprocal interactions potentially found in the native tissue. To understand paracrine and juxtacrine signaling among fibroblasts and epithelia, 3D co-cultures with species differences allows for further subsequent analysis of the cultures. The use of mouse and human cells, for example, in one system allows for species-specific FACS or quantitative PCR analysis. This protocol describes the use of a 3D Co-culture System of Mouse Prostatic Wild-type Fibroblasts with Human Prostate Cancer Epithelial Cells.
0 Q&A 4540 Views Apr 20, 2019
Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS) herpesvirus (KSHV) is a virus that causes KS, an angiogenic AIDS-associated spindle-cell neoplasm, by activating host oncogenic signaling cascades through autocrine and paracrine mechanisms. Many host signaling cascades co-opted by KSHV including PI3K/AKT/mTORC, NFkB and Notch are critical for cell-specific mechanisms of transformation and their identification is paving the way to therapeutic target discovery. Analysis of the molecular KS signature common to human KS tumors and our mouse KS-like tumors showed consistent expression of KS markers VEGF and PDGF receptors with upregulation of other angiogenesis ligands and their receptors in vivo. This points to the autocrine and paracrine activation of various receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) signaling axes. Hereby we describe a protocol to screen for activated receptor tyrosine kinase of KSHV-induced KS-like mouse tumors using a Mouse Phospho-RTK Array Kit and its validation by RTK western blots. We showed that this method can be successfully used to rank the tyrosine kinase receptors most activated in tumors in an unbiased manner. This allowed us to identify PDGFRA as an oncogenic driver and therapeutic target in AIDS-KS.
0 Q&A 5155 Views Dec 5, 2018
The Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (HER) family of receptor tyrosine kinases consists of four, single pass, transmembrane receptor homologs (HER1-4) that act to regulate many critical processes in normal and tumor cells. HER2 is overexpressed in many tumors, and the deregulated proliferation of cancerous cells is driven by cooperation with its preferred receptor partner, HER3. The assessment of the in-situ organization of tagged HER2 and HER3 using super-resolution microscopy reveals quantitative Single Molecule Localization Microscopy (SMLM) as an ideal bioanalytical tool to characterize receptor clusters. Clustering of receptors is an important regulatory mechanism to prime cells to respond to stimuli so, to understand these processes, it is necessary to measure parameters such as numbers of clusters, cluster radii and the number of localizations per cluster for different perturbations. Previously, Fluorescence Localization Imaging with Photobleaching (FLImP), another nanoscale, single-molecule technique, characterized the oligomerization state of HER1 [or Epidermal Growth Factor Receptors (EGFR)] in cell membranes. To achieve an unprecedented resolution (< 5 nm) for inter-molecular separations in EGFR oligomers using FLImP, very few receptors are tagged, and so this method is unsuitable for measurements of whole receptor populations in cancer cells where receptors are frequently upregulated. Here, in order to detect all receptors involved in cluster formation, we saturate endogenous HER2 and HER3 membrane receptors with ligands at a 1:1 dye to protein ratio, in the presence or absence of therapeutic drugs (lapatinib or bosutinib). This is performed in the commonly used breast cancer cell line model SKBR3 cells, where there are ~1.6 million HER2 receptors/cell and 10,000-40,000 HER3 receptors/cell. The basal state of these receptors is studied using HER2- or HER3-specific Affibodies, and likewise, the active state is probed using the natural HER3 ligand, Neuregulin-beta1 (NRGβ1). Stochastic Optical Reconstruction Microscopy (STORM), one form of SMLM, was used here to image cells, which were chemically fixed to minimize image blurring and provide data (x and y coordinates and standard deviation of the measured localizations) for cluster analysis. Further analysis can also determine proportions of receptor colocalizations. Our findings show that lapatinib-bound HER2, complexed with HER3 via a non-canonical kinase dimer structure, induces higher order oligomers. We hypothesized that nucleation of receptors creates signaling platforms that explain the counterintuitive, increase in cell proliferation upon ligand binding, in the presence of the HER2-inhibitor lapatinib.

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