• Dysregulated serum response factor triggers formation of hepatocellular carcinoma.

      Ohrnberger, Stefan; Thavamani, Abhishek; Braeuning, Albert; Lipka, Daniel B; Kirilov, Milen; Geffers, Robert; Authenrieth, Stella E; Römer, Michael; Zell, Andreas; Bonin, Michael; et al. (2015-03)
      The ubiquitously expressed transcriptional regulator serum response factor (SRF) is controlled by both Ras/MAPK (mitogen-activated protein kinase) and Rho/actin signaling pathways, which are frequently activated in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). We generated SRF-VP16(iHep) mice, which conditionally express constitutively active SRF-VP16 in hepatocytes, thereby controlling subsets of both Ras/MAPK- and Rho/actin-stimulated target genes. All SRF-VP16(iHep) mice develop hyperproliferative liver nodules that progresses to lethal HCC. Some murine (m)HCCs acquire Ctnnb1 mutations equivalent to those in human (h)HCC. The resulting transcript signatures mirror those of a distinct subgroup of hHCCs, with shared activation of oncofetal genes including Igf2, correlating with CpG hypomethylation at the imprinted Igf2/H19 locus.
    • Identification of Ppar-modulated miRNA hubs that target the fibrotic tumor microenvironment.

      Winkler, Ivana; Bitter, Catrin; Winkler, Sebastian; Weichenhan, Dieter; Thavamani, Abhishek; Hengstler, Jan G; Borkham-Kamphorst, Erawan; Kohlbacher, Oliver; Plass, Christoph; Geffers, Robert; et al. (National Academy of Sciences, 2020-01-07)
      Liver fibrosis interferes with normal liver function and facilitates hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) development, representing a major threat to human health. Here, we present a comprehensive perspective of microRNA (miRNA) function on targeting the fibrotic microenvironment. Starting from a murine HCC model, we identify a miRNA network composed of 8 miRNA hubs and 54 target genes. We show that let-7, miR-30, miR-29c, miR-335, and miR-338 (collectively termed antifibrotic microRNAs [AF-miRNAs]) down-regulate key structural, signaling, and remodeling components of the extracellular matrix. During fibrogenic transition, these miRNAs are transcriptionally regulated by the transcription factor Pparγ and thus we identify a role of Pparγ as regulator of a functionally related class of AF-miRNAs. The miRNA network is active in human HCC, breast, and lung carcinomas, as well as in 2 independent mouse liver fibrosis models. Therefore, we identify a miRNA:mRNA network that contributes to formation of fibrosis in tumorous and nontumorous organs of mice and humans.