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  • Acetate supplementation restores chromatin accessibility and promotes tumor cell differentiation under hypoxia. Cell death & disease Li, Y., Gruber, J. J., Litzenburger, U. M., Zhou, Y., Miao, Y. R., LaGory, E. L., Li, A. M., Hu, Z., Yip, M., Hart, L. S., Maris, J. M., Chang, H. Y., Giaccia, A. J., Ye, J. 2020; 11 (2): 102

    Abstract

    Despite the fact that Otto H. Warburg discovered the Warburg effect almost one hundred years ago, why cancer cells waste most of the glucose carbon as lactate remains an enigma. Warburg proposed a connection between the Warburg effect and cell dedifferentiation. Hypoxia is a common tumor microenvironmental stress that induces the Warburg effect and blocks tumor cell differentiation. The underlying mechanism by which this occurs is poorly understood, and no effective therapeutic strategy has been developed to overcome this resistance to differentiation. Using a neuroblastoma differentiation model, we discovered that hypoxia repressed cell differentiation through reducing cellular acetyl-CoA levels, leading to reduction of global histone acetylation and chromatin accessibility. The metabolic switch triggering this global histone hypoacetylation was the induction of pyruvate dehydrogenase kinases (PDK1 and PDK3). Inhibition of PDKs using dichloroacetate (DCA) restored acetyl-CoA generation and histone acetylation under hypoxia. Knocking down PDK1 induced neuroblastoma cell differentiation, highlighting the critical role of PDK1 in cell fate control. Importantly, acetate or glycerol triacetate (GTA) supplementation restored differentiation markers expression and neuron differentiation under hypoxia. Moreover, ATAC-Seq analysis demonstrated that hypoxia treatment significantly reduced chromatin accessibility at RAR/RXR binding sites, which can be restored by acetate supplementation. In addition, hypoxia-induced histone hypermethylation by increasing 2-hydroxyglutarate (2HG) and reducing ?-ketoglutarate (?KG). ?KG supplementation reduced histone hypermethylation upon hypoxia, but did not restore histone acetylation or differentiation markers expression. Together, these findings suggest that diverting pyruvate flux away from acetyl-CoA generation to lactate production is the key mechanism that Warburg effect drives dedifferentiation and tumorigenesis. We propose that combining differentiation therapy with acetate/GTA supplementation might represent an effective therapy against neuroblastoma.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41419-020-2303-9

    View details for PubMedID 32029721

  • S100A10 is a critical mediator of GAS6/AXL-induced angiogenesis in renal cell carcinoma. Cancer research Xiao, Y., Zhao, H., Tian, L., Nolley, R., Diep, A. N., Ernst, A., Fuh, K. C., Miao, Y. R., von Eyben, R., Leppert, J. T., Brooks, J. D., Peehl, D. M., Giaccia, A. J., Rankin, E. B. 2019

    Abstract

    Angiogenesis is a hallmark of cancer that promotes tumor progression and metastasis. However, antiangiogenic agents have limited efficacy in cancer therapy due to the development of resistance. In clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC), AXL expression is associated with antiangiogenic resistance and poor survival. Here, we establish a role for GAS6/AXL signaling in promoting the angiogenic potential of ccRCC cells through the regulation of the plasminogen receptor S100A10. Genetic and therapeutic inhibition of AXL signaling in ccRCC tumor xenografts reduced tumor vessel density and growth under the renal capsule. GAS6/AXL signaling activated the expression of S100A10 through SRC to promote plasmin production, endothelial cell invasion and angiogenesis. Importantly, treatment with the small molecule AXL inhibitor cabozantinib or an ultra-high affinity soluble AXL Fc fusion decoy receptor (sAXL) reduced the growth of a pazopanib-resistant ccRCC patient-derived xenograft. Moreover, the combination of sAXL synergized with pazopanib and axitinib to reduce ccRCC patient-derived xenograft growth and vessel density. These findings highlight a role for AXL/S100A10 signaling in mediating the angiogenic potential of ccRCC cells and support the combination of AXL inhibitors with antiangiogenic agents for advanced ccRCC.

    View details for DOI 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-19-1366

    View details for PubMedID 31585940

  • Inhibition of the GAS6/AXL pathway augments the efficacy of chemotherapies JOURNAL OF CLINICAL INVESTIGATION Kariolis, M. S., Miao, Y. R., Diep, A., Nash, S. E., Olcina, M. M., Jiang, D., Jones, D. S., Kapur, S., Mathews, I. I., Koong, A. C., Rankin, E. B., Cochran, J. R., Giaccia, A. J. 2017; 127 (1): 183-198

    Abstract

    The AXL receptor and its activating ligand, growth arrest-specific 6 (GAS6), are important drivers of metastasis and therapeutic resistance in human cancers. Given the critical roles that GAS6 and AXL play in refractory disease, this signaling axis represents an attractive target for therapeutic intervention. However, the strong picomolar binding affinity between GAS6 and AXL and the promiscuity of small molecule inhibitors represent important challenges faced by current anti-AXL therapeutics. Here, we have addressed these obstacles by engineering a second-generation, high-affinity AXL decoy receptor with an apparent affinity of 93 femtomolar to GAS6. Our decoy receptor, MYD1-72, profoundly inhibited disease progression in aggressive preclinical models of human cancers and induced cell killing in leukemia cells. When directly compared with the most advanced anti-AXL small molecules in the clinic, MYD1-72 achieved superior antitumor efficacy while displaying no toxicity. Moreover, we uncovered a relationship between AXL and the cellular response to DNA damage whereby abrogation of AXL signaling leads to accumulation of the DNA-damage markers ?H2AX, 53BP1, and RAD51. MYD1-72 exploited this relationship, leading to improvements upon the therapeutic index of current standard-of-care chemotherapies in preclinical models of advanced pancreatic and ovarian cancer.

    View details for DOI 10.1172/JCI85610

    View details for Web of Science ID 000392271300021

    View details for PubMedID 27893463

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5199716

  • Induction of LIFR confers a dormancy phenotype in breast cancer cells disseminated to the, bone marrow NATURE CELL BIOLOGY Johnson, R. W., Fingers, E. C., Olcina, M. M., Vilalta, M., Aguilera, T., Miao, Y., Merkel, A. R., Johnson, J. R., Sterling, J. A., Wu, J. Y., Giaccia, A. J. 2016; 18 (10): 1078-1089

    Abstract

    Breast cancer cells frequently home to the bone marrow, where they may enter a dormant state before forming a bone metastasis. Several members of the interleukin-6 (IL-6) cytokine family are implicated in breast cancer bone colonization, but the role for the IL-6 cytokine leukaemia inhibitory factor (LIF) in this process is unknown. We tested the hypothesis that LIF provides a pro-dormancy signal to breast cancer cells in the bone. In breast cancer patients, LIF receptor (LIFR) levels are lower with bone metastases and are significantly and inversely correlated with patient outcome and hypoxia gene activity. Hypoxia also reduces the LIFR:STAT3:SOCS3 signalling pathway in breast cancer cells. Loss of the LIFR or STAT3 enables otherwise dormant breast cancer cells to downregulate dormancy-, quiescence- and cancer stem cell-associated genes, and to proliferate in and specifically colonize the bone, suggesting that LIFR:STAT3 signalling confers a dormancy phenotype in breast cancer cells disseminated to bone.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/ncb3408

    View details for Web of Science ID 000384961700007

    View details for PubMedID 27642788

  • An engineered Axl 'decoy receptor' effectively silences the Gas6-Axl signaling axis NATURE CHEMICAL BIOLOGY Kariolis, M. S., Miao, Y. R., Ii, D. S., Kapur, S., Mathews, I. I., Giaccia, A. J., Cochran, J. R. 2014; 10 (11): 977-983
  • An engineered Axl 'decoy receptor' effectively silences the Gas6-Axl signaling axis. Nature chemical biology Kariolis, M. S., Miao, Y. R., Jones, D. S., Kapur, S., Mathews, I. I., Giaccia, A. J., Cochran, J. R. 2014; 10 (11): 977-983

    Abstract

    Aberrant signaling through the Axl receptor tyrosine kinase has been associated with a myriad of human diseases, most notably metastatic cancer, identifying Axl and its ligand Gas6 as important therapeutic targets. Using rational and combinatorial approaches, we engineered an Axl 'decoy receptor' that binds Gas6 with high affinity and inhibits its function, offering an alternative approach from drug discovery efforts that directly target Axl. Four mutations within this high-affinity Axl variant caused structural alterations in side chains across the Gas6-Axl binding interface, stabilizing a conformational change on Gas6. When reformatted as an Fc fusion, the engineered decoy receptor bound Gas6 with femtomolar affinity, an 80-fold improvement compared to binding of the wild-type Axl receptor, allowing effective sequestration of Gas6 and specific abrogation of Axl signaling. Moreover, increased Gas6 binding affinity was critical and correlative with the ability of decoy receptors to potently inhibit metastasis and disease progression in vivo.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/nchembio.1636

    View details for PubMedID 25242553

  • Direct regulation of GAS6/AXL signaling by HIF promotes renal metastasis through SRC and MET PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Rankin, E. B., Fuh, K. C., Castellini, L., Viswanathan, K., Finger, E. C., Diep, A. N., Lagory, E. L., Kariolis, M. S., Chan, A., Lindgren, D., Axelson, H., Miao, Y. R., Krieg, A. J., Giaccia, A. J. 2014; 111 (37): 13373-13378
  • Direct regulation of GAS6/AXL signaling by HIF promotes renal metastasis through SRC and MET. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America Rankin, E. B., Fuh, K. C., Castellini, L., Viswanathan, K., Finger, E. C., Diep, A. N., Lagory, E. L., Kariolis, M. S., Chan, A., Lindgren, D., Axelson, H., MIAO, Y. R., Krieg, A. J., Giaccia, A. J. 2014; 111 (37): 13373-13378

    Abstract

    Dysregulation of the von Hippel-Lindau/hypoxia-inducible transcription factor (HIF) signaling pathway promotes clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) progression and metastasis. The protein kinase GAS6/AXL signaling pathway has recently been implicated as an essential mediator of metastasis and receptor tyrosine kinase crosstalk in cancer. Here we establish a molecular link between HIF stabilization and induction of AXL receptor expression in metastatic ccRCC. We found that HIF-1 and HIF-2 directly activate the expression of AXL by binding to the hypoxia-response element in the AXL proximal promoter. Importantly, genetic and therapeutic inactivation of AXL signaling in metastatic ccRCC cells reversed the invasive and metastatic phenotype in vivo. Furthermore, we define a pathway by which GAS6/AXL signaling uses lateral activation of the met proto-oncogene (MET) through SRC proto-oncogene nonreceptor tyrosine kinase to maximize cellular invasion. Clinically, AXL expression in primary tumors of ccRCC patients correlates with aggressive tumor behavior and patient lethality. These findings provide an alternative model for SRC and MET activation by growth arrest-specific 6 in ccRCC and identify AXL as a therapeutic target driving the aggressive phenotype in renal clear cell carcinoma.

    View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1404848111

    View details for PubMedID 25187556

  • PHD inhibition mitigates and protects against radiation-induced gastrointestinal toxicity via HIF2. Science translational medicine Taniguchi, C. M., Miao, Y. R., Diep, A. N., Wu, C., Rankin, E. B., Atwood, T. F., Xing, L., Giaccia, A. J. 2014; 6 (236): 236ra64-?

    Abstract

    Radiation-induced gastrointestinal (GI) toxicity can be a major source of morbidity and mortality after radiation exposure. There is an unmet need for effective preventative or mitigative treatments against the potentially fatal diarrhea and water loss induced by radiation damage to the GI tract. We report that prolyl hydroxylase inhibition by genetic knockout or pharmacologic inhibition of all PHD (prolyl hydroxylase domain) isoforms by the small-molecule dimethyloxallyl glycine (DMOG) increases hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) expression, improves epithelial integrity, reduces apoptosis, and increases intestinal angiogenesis, all of which are essential for radioprotection. HIF2, but not HIF1, is both necessary and sufficient to prevent radiation-induced GI toxicity and death. Increased vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) expression contributes to the protective effects of HIF2, because inhibition of VEGF function reversed the radioprotection and radiomitigation afforded by DMOG. Additionally, mortality from abdominal or total body irradiation was reduced even when DMOG was given 24 hours after exposure. Thus, prolyl hydroxylase inhibition represents a treatment strategy to protect against and mitigate GI toxicity from both therapeutic radiation and potentially lethal radiation exposures.

    View details for DOI 10.1126/scitranslmed.3008523

    View details for PubMedID 24828078

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4136475

  • PHD Inhibition Mitigates and Protects Against Radiation-Induced Gastrointestinal Toxicity via HIF2. Science translational medicine Taniguchi, C. M., Miao, Y. R., Diep, A. N., Wu, C., Rankin, E. B., Atwood, T. F., Xing, L., Giaccia, A. J. 2014; 6 (236): 236ra64-?

    View details for DOI 10.1126/scitranslmed.3008523

    View details for PubMedID 24828078

  • Inhibition of established micrometastases by targeted drug delivery via cell surface-associated GRP78. Clinical cancer research Miao, Y. R., Eckhardt, B. L., Cao, Y., Pasqualini, R., Argani, P., Arap, W., Ramsay, R. G., Anderson, R. L. 2013; 19 (8): 2107-2116

    Abstract

    The major cause of morbidity in breast cancer is development of metastatic disease, for which few effective therapies exist. Because tumor cell dissemination is often an early event in breast cancer progression and can occur before diagnosis, new therapies need to focus on targeting established metastatic disease in secondary organs. We report an effective therapy based on targeting cell surface-localized glucose-regulated protein 78 (GRP78). GRP78 is expressed normally in the endoplasmic reticulum, but many tumors and disseminated tumor cells are subjected to environmental stresses and exhibit elevated levels of GRP78, some of which are localized at the plasma membrane. Experimental Design andHere, we show that matched primary tumors and metastases from patients who died from advanced breast cancer also express high levels of GRP78. We used a peptidomimetic targeting strategy that uses a known GRP78-binding peptide fused to a proapoptotic moiety [designated bone metastasis targeting peptide 78 (BMTP78)] and show that it can selectively kill breast cancer cells that express surface-localized GRP78. Furthermore, in preclinical metastasis models, we show that administration of BMTP78 can inhibit primary tumor growth as well as prolong overall survival by reducing the extent of outgrowth of established lung and bone micrometastases.The data presented here provide strong evidence that it is possible to induce cell death in established micrometastases by peptide-mediated targeting of cell surface-localized GRP in advanced breast cancers. The significance to patients with advanced breast cancer of a therapy that can reduce established metastatic disease should not be underestimated.

    View details for DOI 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-12-2991

    View details for PubMedID 23470966

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