Natasha C. Forrest
Bio: Natasha C. Forrest is an academic researcher from Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research. The author has contributed to research in topics: Stem cell & Population. The author has an hindex of 5, co-authored 7 publications receiving 2587 citations.
TL;DR: It is found that breast tissue from BRCA1 mutation carriers harbors an expanded luminal progenitor population that shows factor-independent growth in vitro, and the findings suggest that an aberrant luminalprogenitor population is a target for transformation in BRCa1-associated basal tumors.
Abstract: Basal-like breast cancers arising in women carrying mutations in the BRCA1 gene, encoding the tumor suppressor protein BRCA1, are thought to develop from the mammary stem cell. To explore early cellular changes that occur in BRCA1 mutation carriers, we have prospectively isolated distinct epithelial subpopulations from normal mammary tissue and preneoplastic specimens from individuals heterozygous for a BRCA1 mutation. We describe three epithelial subsets including basal stem/progenitor, luminal progenitor and mature luminal cells. Unexpectedly, we found that breast tissue from BRCA1 mutation carriers harbors an expanded luminal progenitor population that shows factor-independent growth in vitro. Moreover, gene expression profiling revealed that breast tissue heterozygous for a BRCA1 mutation and basal breast tumors were more similar to normal luminal progenitor cells than any other subset, including the stem cell-enriched population. The c-KIT tyrosine kinase receptor (encoded by KIT) emerged as a key marker of luminal progenitor cells and was more highly expressed in BRCA1-associated preneoplastic tissue and tumors. Our findings suggest that an aberrant luminal progenitor population is a target for transformation in BRCA1-associated basal tumors .
TL;DR: It is demonstrated that Gata-3 deficiency leads to an expansion of luminal progenitors and a concomitant block in differentiation, and introduced into a stem cell-enriched population induced maturation along the alveolar luminal lineage.
Abstract: The transcription factor Gata-3 is a defining marker of the 'luminal' subtypes of breast cancer. To gain insight into the role of Gata-3 in breast epithelial development and oncogenesis, we have explored its normal function within the mammary gland by conditionally deleting Gata-3 at different stages of development. We report that Gata-3 has essential roles in the morphogenesis of the mammary gland in both the embryo and adult. Through the discovery of a novel marker (beta3-integrin) of luminal progenitor cells and their purification, we demonstrate that Gata-3 deficiency leads to an expansion of luminal progenitors and a concomitant block in differentiation. Remarkably, introduction of Gata-3 into a stem cell-enriched population induced maturation along the alveolar luminal lineage. These studies provide evidence for the existence of an epithelial hierarchy within the mammary gland and establish Gata-3 as a critical regulator of luminal differentiation.
TL;DR: It is suggested that both mammary stem and progenitor cells can serve as the cellular targets of wnt-1-induced tumorigenesis, and the utility of the progenitors marker CD61 in the identification of CSCs that sustain specific mammary tumors is shown.
Abstract: The cells of origin and mechanisms that underpin tumor heterogeneity in breast cancer are poorly understood. Here, we have examined three mouse models of mammary tumorigenesis (MMTV-wnt-1, MMTV-neu, and p53+/−) for changes in their epithelial cell hierarchy during the preneoplastic and neoplastic stages of tumor progression. In preneoplastic tissue, only MMTV-wnt-1 mice showed a perturbation in their epithelial subpopulations. In addition to an expanded mammary stem cell pool, repopulating cells capable of yielding extensive mammary outgrowths in vivo were revealed in the committed luminal progenitor population. These findings indicate that wnt-1 activation induces the appearance of aberrant progenitor cells, and suggest that both mammary stem and progenitor cells can serve as the cellular targets of wnt-1–induced tumorigenesis. In tumors arising in MMTV-wnt-1 tumors, the luminal epithelial progenitor marker CD61/β3 integrin identified a cancer stem cell (CSC) population that was highly enriched for tumorigenic capability relative to the CD61− subset. CD61 expression also defined a CSC subset in 50% of p53+/−–derived tumors. No CSCs, however, could be identified in the more homogeneous MMTV-neu/erbB2 model, suggesting an alternative model of tumorigenesis. Overall, our findings show the utility of the progenitor marker CD61 in the identification of CSCs that sustain specific mammary tumors. [Cancer Res 2008;68(19):7711–7]
TL;DR: Mouse mammary stem cells were negative for ERalpha, PR, and ErbB2 and appeared to share common properties with poor-prognosis basal breast cancer.
Abstract: The estrogen receptor alpha (ERalpha), progesterone receptor (PR), and erbB2 (Her2 in humans) are important prognostic markers of human breast cancer, and they are variably expressed in different subtypes of breast cancer. The basal subtype, for example, is negative for ERalpha, PR, and Her2 by immunohistochemistry. We investigated the expression of these signaling molecules in enriched populations of mouse mammary stem cells and luminal cells that were isolated according to their differential expression of CD24 and the alpha6beta1-integrin complex. We found that the basal population, which is enriched in mouse mammary stem cells, did not express ERalpha, PR, or ErbB2/Her2 but did express epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)/ErbB1, whereas the subset of cells enriched for luminal cells expressed ERalpha (37% of cells) and PR (40% of cells) but not ErbB2/Her2 or EGFR/ErbB1. Ovariectomy confirmed the importance of estrogen signaling to luminal cell proliferation but had no effect on the size of the mouse mammary stem cell-enriched population. Thus, mouse mammary stem cells were negative for ERalpha, PR, and ErbB2 and appeared to share common properties with poor-prognosis basal breast cancer.
TL;DR: The data establish Socs3 as a critical attenuator of pro‐apoptotic pathways that act in the developing mammary gland and provide evidence that c‐myc regulates apoptosis during involution.
Abstract: Suppressor of cytokine signalling (SOCS) proteins are critical attenuators of cytokine-mediated signalling in diverse tissues. To determine the importance of Socs3 in mammary development, we generated mice in which Socs3 was deleted in mammary epithelial cells. No overt phenotype was evident during pregnancy and lactation, indicating that Socs3 is not a key physiological regulator of prolactin signalling. However, Socs3-deficient mammary glands exhibited a profound increase in epithelial apoptosis and tissue remodelling, resulting in precocious involution. This phenotype was accompanied by augmented Stat3 activation and a marked increase in the level of c-myc. Moreover, induction of c-myc before weaning using an inducible transgenic model recapitulated the Socs3 phenotype, and elevated expression of likely c-myc target genes, E2F-1, Bax and p53, was observed. Our data establish Socs3 as a critical attenuator of pro-apoptotic pathways that act in the developing mammary gland and provide evidence that c-myc regulates apoptosis during involution.
TL;DR: The philosophy and design of the limma package is reviewed, summarizing both new and historical features, with an emphasis on recent enhancements and features that have not been previously described.
Abstract: limma is an R/Bioconductor software package that provides an integrated solution for analysing data from gene expression experiments. It contains rich features for handling complex experimental designs and for information borrowing to overcome the problem of small sample sizes. Over the past decade, limma has been a popular choice for gene discovery through differential expression analyses of microarray and high-throughput PCR data. The package contains particularly strong facilities for reading, normalizing and exploring such data. Recently, the capabilities of limma have been significantly expanded in two important directions. First, the package can now perform both differential expression and differential splicing analyses of RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) data. All the downstream analysis tools previously restricted to microarray data are now available for RNA-seq as well. These capabilities allow users to analyse both RNA-seq and microarray data with very similar pipelines. Second, the package is now able to go past the traditional gene-wise expression analyses in a variety of ways, analysing expression profiles in terms of co-regulated sets of genes or in terms of higher-order expression signatures. This provides enhanced possibilities for biological interpretation of gene expression differences. This article reviews the philosophy and design of the limma package, summarizing both new and historical features, with an emphasis on recent enhancements and features that have not been previously described.
TL;DR: It is suggested that metastasis can be portrayed as a two-phase process: the first phase involves the physical translocation of a cancer cell to a distant organ, whereas the second encompasses the ability of the cancer cellto develop into a metastatic lesion at that distant site.
Abstract: Metastasis causes most cancer deaths, yet this process remains one of the most enigmatic aspects of the disease. Building on new mechanistic insights emerging from recent research, we offer our perspective on the metastatic process and reflect on possible paths of future exploration. We suggest that metastasis can be portrayed as a two-phase process: The first phase involves the physical translocation of a cancer cell to a distant organ, whereas the second encompasses the ability of the cancer cell to develop into a metastatic lesion at that distant site. Although much remains to be learned about the second phase, we feel that an understanding of the first phase is now within sight, due in part to a better understanding of how cancer cell behavior can be modified by a cell-biological program called the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition.
TL;DR: The cancer stem cell (CSC) hypothesis provides an attractive cellular mechanism to account for the therapeutic refractoriness and dormant behaviour exhibited by many of these tumours.
Abstract: Solid tumours are an enormous cancer burden and a major therapeutic challenge. The cancer stem cell (CSC) hypothesis provides an attractive cellular mechanism to account for the therapeutic refractoriness and dormant behaviour exhibited by many of these tumours. There is increasing evidence that diverse solid tumours are hierarchically organized and sustained by a distinct subpopulation of CSCs. Direct evidence for the CSC hypothesis has recently emerged from mouse models of epithelial tumorigenesis, although alternative models of heterogeneity also seem to apply. The clinical relevance of CSCs remains a fundamental issue but preliminary findings indicate that specific targeting may be possible.
TL;DR: Triple-negative breast cancer, so called because it lacks expression of the estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, and HER2, is often, but not always, a basal-like breast cancer.
Abstract: Triple-negative breast cancer, so called because it lacks expression of the estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, and HER2, is often, but not always, a basal-like breast cancer. This review focuses on its origin, molecular and clinical characteristics, and treatment.
TL;DR: Clinical developments emphasize the need to identify how integrin antagonists influence the tumour and its microenvironment.
Abstract: The integrin family of cell adhesion receptors regulates a diverse array of cellular functions crucial to the initiation, progression and metastasis of solid tumours. The importance of integrins in several cell types that affect tumour progression has made them an appealing target for cancer therapy. Integrin antagonists, including the alphavbeta3 and alphavbeta5 inhibitor cilengitide, have shown encouraging activity in Phase II clinical trials and cilengitide is currently being tested in a Phase III trial in patients with glioblastoma. These exciting clinical developments emphasize the need to identify how integrin antagonists influence the tumour and its microenvironment.