Ectopic Cushing's syndrome due to ectopic ACTH&CRH-secreting by pheochromocytoma is extremely rare and can be fatal if not properly diagnosed. It remains unclear whether a unique cell type is responsible for multiple hormones secreting. In this work, we performed single-cell RNA sequencing to 3 different anatomic tumor tissues and 1 peritumoral tissue based on a rare case with ectopic ACTH&CRH-secreting pheochromocytoma. And in addition to that, 3 adrenal tumor specimens from common pheochromocytoma and adrenocortical adenomas were also involved in the comparison of tumor cellular heterogeneity. A total of 16 cell types in the tumor microenvironment were identified by unbiased cell clustering of single-cell transcriptomic profiles from all specimens. Notably, we identified a novel multi-functionally chromaffin-like cell type with high expression of both POMC (the precursor of ACTH) and CRH, called ACTH+&CRH+ pheochromocyte. We hypothesized that the molecular mechanism of the rare case harbor Cushing's syndrome is due to the identified novel tumor cell type, that is, the secretion of ACTH had a direct effect on the adrenal gland to produce cortisol, while the secretion of CRH can indirectly stimulate the secretion of ACTH from the anterior pituitary. Besides, a new potential marker (GAL) co-expressed with ACTH and CRH might be involved in the regulation of ACTH secretion. The immunohistochemistry results confirmed its multi-functionally chromaffin-like properties with positive staining for CRH, POMC, ACTH, GAL, TH and CgA. Our findings also proved to some extent the heterogeneity of endothelial and immune microenvironment in different adrenal tumor subtypes.
The raw data of scRNA-seq sequencing reads generated in this study were deposited in The National Genomics Data Center (NGDC, https://bigd.big.ac.cn/) under the accession number: PRJCA003766.
- Hanzhong Li
- Taijiao Jiang
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Human subjects: Specimen collection was obtained after appropriate research consents (and assents when applicable) and was approved by the Institutional Review Board, Peking Union Medical College Hospital. All information obtained was protected and de-identified. (protocol number: S K431)
- Murim Choi, Seoul National University, Republic of Korea
© 2021, Zhang et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
The Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 (PRC2) methylates H3K27 to regulate development and cell fate by transcriptional silencing. Alteration of PRC2 is associated with various cancers. Here, we show that mouse Kdm1a deletion causes dramatic reduction of PRC2 proteins, whereas mouse null mutation of L3mbtl3 or Dcaf5 results in PRC2 accumulation and increased H3K27 trimethylation. The catalytic subunit of PRC2, EZH2, is methylated at lysine 20 (K20), promoting EZH2 proteolysis by L3MBTL3 and the CLR4DCAF5 ubiquitin ligase. KDM1A (LSD1) demethylates the methylated K20 to stabilize EZH2. K20 methylation is inhibited by AKT-mediated phosphorylation of serine 21 in EZH2. Mouse Ezh2K20R/K20R mutants develop hepatosplenomegaly associated with high GFI1B expression, and Ezh2K20R/K20R mutant bone marrows expand hematopoietic stem cells and downstream hematopoietic populations. Our studies reveal that EZH2 is regulated by methylation-dependent proteolysis, which is negatively controlled by AKT-mediated S21 phosphorylation to establish a methylation-phosphorylation switch to control the PRC2 activity and hematopoiesis.
Mammalian ferredoxin 1 and 2 (FDX1/2) belong to an evolutionary conserved family of iron-sulfur cluster containing proteins and act as electron shutters between ferredoxin reductase (FDXR) and numerous proteins involved in critical biological pathways. FDX1 is involved in biogenesis of steroids and bile acids, Vitamin A/D metabolism, and lipoylation of tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle enzymes. FDX1 has been extensively characterized biochemically but its role in physiology and lipid metabolism has not been explored. In this study, we generated Fdx1-deficient mice and showed that knockout of both alleles of the Fdx1 gene led to embryonic lethality. We also showed that like Fdxr+/-+/-, Fdx1+/-+/- had a shorter life span and were prone to steatohepatitis. However, unlike Fdxr+/-+/-, Fdx1+/-+/- were not prone to spontaneous tumors. Additionally, we showed that FDX1 deficiency led to lipid droplet accumulation possibly via the ABCA1-SREBP1/2 pathway. Specifically, untargeted lipidomic analysis showed that FDX1 deficiency led to alterations in several classes of lipids, including cholesterol, triacylglycerides, acylcarnitines, ceramides, phospholipids and lysophospholipids. Taken together, our data indicate that FDX1 is essential for mammalian embryonic development and lipid homeostasis at both cellular and organismal levels.