Publications

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A Primitive Growth Factor, NME7AB , Is Sufficient to Induce Stable Naïve State Human Pluripotency; Reprogramming in This Novel Growth Factor Confers Superior Differentiation.

Carter MG, Smagghe BJ, Stewart AK, Rapley JA, Lynch E, Bernier KJ, Keating KW, Hatziioannou VM, Hartman EJ, Bamdad CC. Stem Cells. 2016 Apr;34(4):847-59. doi: 10.1002/stem.2261. Epub 2016 Jan 7.

Abstract
Scientists have generated human stem cells that in some respects mimic mouse naïve cells, but their dependence on the addition of several extrinsic agents, and their propensity to develop abnormal karyotype calls into question their resemblance to a naturally occurring "naïve" state in humans. Here, we report that a recombinant, truncated human NME7, referred to as NME7AB here, induces a stable naïve-like state in human embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells without the use of inhibitors, transgenes, leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF), fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2), feeder cells, or their conditioned media. Evidence of a naïve state includes reactivation of the second X chromosome in female source cells, increased expression of naïve markers and decreased expression of primed state markers, ability to be clonally expanded and increased differentiation potential. RNA-seq analysis shows vast differences between the parent FGF2 grown, primed state cells, and NME7AB converted cells, but similarities to altered gene expression patterns reported by others generating naïve-like stem cells via the use of biochemical inhibitors. Experiments presented here, in combination with our previous work, suggest a mechanistic model of how human stem cells regulate self-replication: an early naïve state driven by NME7, which cannot itself limit self-replication and a later naïve state regulated by NME1, which limits self-replication when its multimerization state shifts from the active dimer to the inactive hexamer.

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MUC1* ligand, NM23-H1, is a novel growth factor that maintains human stem cells in a more naïve state.

Smagghe BJ, Stewart AK, Carter MG, Shelton LM, Bernier KJ, Hartman EJ, Calhoun AK, Hatziioannou VM, Lillacci G, Kirk BA, DiNardo BA, Kosik KS, Bamdad C. PLoS One. 2013;8(3):e58601. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0058601. Epub 2013 Mar 7.

Abstract
We report that a single growth factor, NM23-H1, enables serial passaging of both human ES and iPS cells in the absence of feeder cells, their conditioned media or bFGF in a fully defined xeno-free media on a novel defined, xeno-free surface. Stem cells cultured in this system show a gene expression pattern indicative of a more "naïve" state than stem cells grown in bFGF-based media. NM23-H1 and MUC1* growth factor receptor cooperate to control stem cell self-replication. By manipulating the multimerization state of NM23-H1, we override the stem cell's inherent programming that turns off pluripotency and trick the cells into continuously replicating as pluripotent stem cells. Dimeric NM23-H1 binds to and dimerizes the extra cellular domain of the MUC1* transmembrane receptor which stimulates growth and promotes pluripotency. Inhibition of the NM23-H1/MUC1* interaction accelerates differentiation and causes a spike in miR-145 expression which signals a cell's exit from pluripotency.

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MUC1* is a determinant of trastuzumab (Herceptin) resistance in breast cancer cells.

Fessler SP, Wotkowicz MT, Mahanta SK, Bamdad C.Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2009 Nov;118(1):113-24. doi: 10.1007/s10549-009-0412-3. Epub 2009 May 5.

Abstract
In the United States, 211,000 women are diagnosed each year with breast cancer. Of the 42,000 breast cancer patients who overexpress the HER2 growth factor receptor, <35% are responsive to treatment with the HER2-disabling antibody, called trastuzumab (Herceptin). Despite those statistics, women diagnosed with breast cancer are now tested to determine how much of this important growth factor receptor is present in their tumor because patients whose treatment includes trastuzumab are three-times more likely to survive for at least 5 years and are two-times more likely to survive without a cancer recurrence. Unfortunately, even among the group whose cancers originally respond to trastuzumab, 25% of the metastatic breast cancer patients acquire resistance to trastuzumab within the first year of treatment. Follow-on "salvage" therapies have prolonged life for this group but have not been curative. Thus, it is critically important to understand the mechanisms of trastuzumab resistance and develop therapies that reverse or prevent it. Here, we report that molecular analysis of a cancer cell line that was induced to acquire trastuzumab resistance showed a dramatic increase in the amount of the cleaved form of the MUC1 protein, called MUC1*. We recently reported that MUC1* functions as a growth factor receptor on cancer cells and on embryonic stem cells. Here, we show that treating trastuzumab-resistant cancer cells with a combination of MUC1* antagonists and trastuzumab, reverses the drug resistance. Further, HER2-positive cancer cells that are intrinsically resistant to trastuzumab became trastuzumab-sensitive when treated with MUC1* antagonists and trastuzumab. Additionally, we found that tumor cells that had acquired Herceptin resistance had also acquired resistance to standard chemotherapy agents like Taxol, Doxorubicin, and Cyclophosphamide. Acquired resistance to these standard chemotherapy drugs was also reversed by combined treatment with the original drug plus a MUC1* inhibitor.

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A minimal fragment of MUC1 mediates growth of cancer cells.

Mahanta S, Fessler SP, Park J, Bamdad C. PLoS One. 2008 Apr 30;3(4):e2054. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0002054.

Abstract
The MUC1 protein is aberrantly expressed on many solid tumor cancers. In contrast to its apical clustering on healthy epithelial cells, it is uniformly distributed over cancer cells. However, a mechanistic link between aberrant expression and cancer has remained elusive. Herein, we report that a membrane-bound MUC1 cleavage product, that we call MUC1*, is the predominant form of the protein on cultured cancer cells and on cancerous tissues. Further, we demonstrate that transfection of a minimal fragment of MUC1, MUC1*(1110), containing a mere forty-five (45) amino acids of the extracellular domain, is sufficient to confer the oncogenic activities that were previously attributed to the full-length protein. By comparison of molecular weight and function, it appears that MUC1* and MUC1*(1110) are approximately equivalent. Evidence is presented that strongly supports a mechanism whereby dimerization of the extracellular domain of MUC1* activates the MAP kinase signaling cascade and stimulates cell growth. These findings suggest methods to manipulate this growth mechanism for therapeutic interventions in cancer treatments.

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MUC1* mediates the growth of human pluripotent stem cells.

Hikita ST, Kosik KS, Clegg DO, Bamdad C. PLoS One. 2008 Oct 3;3(10):e3312. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0003312.

Abstract
The MUC1 protein is aberrantly expressed on an estimated 75% of all human solid tumor cancers. We recently reported that a transmembrane cleavage product, MUC1*, is the predominant form of the protein on cancer cells [1]. Further, our evidence indicated that MUC1* functions as a growth factor receptor on tumor cells, while the full-length protein appeared to have no growth promoting activity. Here, we report that MUC1* acts as a growth factor receptor on undifferentiated human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). Cleavage of the full-length ectodomain to form MUC1*, a membrane receptor, appears to make binding to its ligand, NM23, possible. Unexpectedly, we found that newly differentiated cells no longer express the cleaved form, MUC1*, or its ligand, NM23. Newly differentiated stem cells exclusively present full-length MUC1. Antibody-induced dimerization of the MUC1* receptor on hESCs stimulated cell growth to a far greater degree than currently used methods that require the addition of exogenous basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) as well as factors secreted by fibroblast "feeder cells". Further, MUC1* mediated growth was shown to be independent of growth stimulated by bFGF or the milieu of factors secreted by feeder cells. Stimulating the MUC1* receptor with either the cognate antibody or its ligand NM23 enabled hESC growth in a feeder cell-free system and produced pluripotent colonies that resisted spontaneous differentiation. These findings suggest that this primal growth mechanism could be utilized to propagate large numbers of pluripotent stem cells for therapeutic interventions.

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