Honors & Awards
BCRP Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Department of Defense (2012-2015)
View details for Web of Science ID 000440602000145
Here we present a compendium of single-cell transcriptomic data from the model organism Mus musculus that comprises more than 100,000 cells from 20 organs and tissues. These data represent a new resource for cell biology, reveal gene expression in poorly characterized cell populations and enable the direct and controlled comparison of gene expression in cell types that are shared between tissues, such as T lymphocytes and endothelial cells from different anatomical locations. Two distinct technical approaches were used for most organs: one approach, microfluidic droplet-based 3'-end counting, enabled the survey of thousands of cells at relatively low coverage, whereas the other, full-length transcript analysis based on fluorescence-activated cell sorting, enabled the characterization of cell types with high sensitivity and coverage. The cumulative data provide the foundation for an atlas of transcriptomic cell biology.
View details for DOI 10.1038/s41586-018-0590-4
View details for PubMedID 30283141
Stem cells in many tissues sustain themselves by entering a quiescent state to avoid genomic insults and to prevent exhaustion caused by excessive proliferation. In the mammary gland, the identity and characteristics of quiescent epithelial stem cells are not clear. Here, we identify a quiescent mammary epithelial cell population expressing high levels of Bcl11b and located at the interface between luminal and basal cells. Bcl11b(high) cells are enriched for cells that can regenerate mammary glands in secondary transplants. Loss of Bcl11b leads to a Cdkn2a-dependent exhaustion of ductal epithelium and loss of epithelial cell regenerative capacity. Gain- and loss-of-function studies show that Bcl11b induces cells to enter the G0 phase of the cell cycle and become quiescent. Taken together, these results suggest that Bcl11b acts as a central intrinsic regulator of mammary epithelial stem cell quiescence and exhaustion and is necessary for long-term maintenance of the mammary gland.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.stem.2016.11.007
View details for PubMedID 28041896
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5341693
Previous studies have proposed that epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) in breast cancer cells regulates metastasis, stem cell properties and chemo-resistance; most studies were based on in vitro culture of cell lines and mouse transgenic cancer models. However, the identity and function of cells expressing EMT-associated genes in normal murine mammary gland homeostasis and human breast cancer still remains under debate. Using in vivo lineage tracing and triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) patient derived xenografts we demonstrate that the repopulating capacity in normal mammary epithelial cells and tumorigenic capacity in TNBC is independent of expression of EMT-associated genes. In breast cancer, while a subset of cells with epithelial and mesenchymal phenotypes have stem cell activity, in many cells that have lost epithelial characteristics with increased expression of mesenchymal genes, have decreased tumor-initiating capacity and plasticity. These findings have implications for the development of effective therapeutic agents targeting tumor-initiating cells.
View details for PubMedID 29162812
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5698470
It has been postulated that there is a link between inflammation and cancer. Here we describe a role for cell-intrinsic toll-like receptor-2 (TLR2; which is involved in inflammatory response) signalling in normal intestinal and mammary epithelial cells and oncogenesis. The downstream effectors of TLR2 are expressed by normal intestinal and mammary epithelia, including the stem/progenitor cells. Deletion of MYD88 or TLR2 in the intestinal epithelium markedly reduces DSS-induced colitis regeneration and spontaneous tumour development in mice. Limiting dilution transplantations of breast epithelial cells devoid of TLR2 or MYD88 revealed a significant decrease in mammary repopulating unit frequency compared with the control. Inhibition of TLR2, its co-receptor CD14, or its downstream targets MYD88 and IRAK1 inhibits growth of human breast cancers in vitro and in vivo. These results suggest that inhibitors of the TLR2 pathway merit investigation as possible therapeutic and chemoprevention agents.
View details for DOI 10.1038/ncb3058
View details for PubMedID 25362351
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are important regulators of stem and progenitor cell functions. We previously reported that miR-142 and miR-150 are upregulated in human breast cancer stem cells (BCSCs) as compared to the non-tumorigenic breast cancer cells. In this study, we report that miR-142 efficiently recruits the APC mRNA to an RNA-induced silencing complex, activates the canonical WNT signaling pathway in an APC-suppression dependent manner, and activates the expression of miR-150. Enforced expression of miR-142 or miR-150 in normal mouse mammary stem cells resulted in the regeneration of hyperproliferative mammary glands in vivo. Knockdown of endogenous miR-142 effectively suppressed organoid formation by BCSCs and slowed tumor growth initiated by human BCSCs in vivo. These results suggest that in some tumors, miR-142 regulates the properties of BCSCs at least in part by activating the WNT signaling pathway and miR-150 expression.
View details for DOI 10.7554/eLife.01977
View details for PubMedID 25406066
Down's syndrome results from full or partial trisomy of chromosome 21. However, the consequences of the underlying gene-dosage imbalance on adult tissues remain poorly understood. Here we show that in Ts65Dn mice, which are trisomic for 132 genes homologous to genes on human chromosome 21, triplication of Usp16 reduces the self-renewal of haematopoietic stem cells and the expansion of mammary epithelial cells, neural progenitors and fibroblasts. In addition, Usp16 is associated with decreased ubiquitination of Cdkn2a and accelerated senescence in Ts65Dn fibroblasts. Usp16 can remove ubiquitin from histone H2A on lysine 119, a critical mark for the maintenance of multiple somatic tissues. Downregulation of Usp16, either by mutation of a single normal Usp16 allele or by short interfering RNAs, largely rescues all of these defects. Furthermore, in human tissues overexpression of USP16 reduces the expansion of normal fibroblasts and postnatal neural progenitors, whereas downregulation of USP16 partially rescues the proliferation defects of Down's syndrome fibroblasts. Taken together, these results suggest that USP16 has an important role in antagonizing the self-renewal and/or senescence pathways in Down's syndrome and could serve as an attractive target to ameliorate some of the associated pathologies.
View details for DOI 10.1038/nature12530
View details for PubMedID 24025767
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3816928
Colorectal cancer is a classic example of a tumor that progresses through multiple distinct stages in its evolution. To understand the mechanisms regulating the transition from indolent to invasive disease, we profiled somatic copy number alterations in noninvasive adenomas and invasive adenocarcinomas from Apc and DNA mismatch repair (MMR) mutant mouse models. We identified a recurrent amplicon on mouse chromosome 8 that encodes microRNA (miRNA) 23a and -27a (miR). miR-23a and -27a levels are upregulated in mouse intestinal adenocarcinomas, primary tumors from patients with stage I/II colorectal cancers, as well as in human colorectal cancer cell lines and cancer stem cells. Functionally, miR-23a promotes the migration and invasion of colorectal cancer cells and stem cells, whereas miR-27a primarily promotes proliferation. We computationally and experimentally validated that metastasis suppressor 1 (MTSS1) is a direct miR-23a target and similarly validated that the ubiquitin ligase FBXW7 is a direct miR-27a target. Analyses of computationally predicted target genes in microarray data sets of patients with colorectal cancers are consistent with a role for miR-23a, but not miR-27a, specifically in invasive colorectal cancers.
View details for DOI 10.1158/2159-8290.CD-11-0267
View details for Web of Science ID 000306363400021