The risk of developing cancer is correlated with body size and lifespan within species, but there is no correlation between cancer and either body size or lifespan between species indicating that large, long-lived species have evolved enhanced cancer protection mechanisms. Previously we showed that several large bodied Afrotherian lineages evolved reduced intrinsic cancer risk, particularly elephants and their extinct relatives (Proboscideans), coincident with pervasive duplication of tumor suppressor genes (Vazquez and Lynch 2021). Unexpectedly, we also found that Xenarthrans (sloths, armadillos, and anteaters) evolved very low intrinsic cancer risk. Here, we show that: 1) several Xenarthran lineages independently evolved large bodies, long lifespans, and reduced intrinsic cancer risk; 2) the reduced cancer risk in the stem lineages of Xenarthra and Pilosa coincided with bursts of tumor suppressor gene duplications; 3) cells from sloths proliferate extremely slowly while Xenarthran cells induce apoptosis at very low doses of DNA damaging agents; and 4) the prevalence of cancer is extremely low Xenarthrans, and cancer is nearly absent from armadillos. These data implicate the duplication of tumor suppressor genes in the evolution of remarkably large body sizes and decreased cancer risk in Xenarthrans and suggest they are a remarkably cancer resistant group of mammals.
All data generated or analysed during this study are included in the manuscript, supporting files, and data.
- Maria T Pena
- Linda B Adams
- Vincent J Lynch
- Vincent J Lynch
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Antonis Rokas, Vanderbilt University, United States
This is an open-access article, free of all copyright, and may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, modified, built upon, or otherwise used by anyone for any lawful purpose. The work is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication.
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 a 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 regulate the PRC2 activity and hematopoiesis.
Pheochromocytomas (PCCs) are rare neuroendocrine tumors that originate from chromaffin cells in the adrenal gland. However, the cellular molecular characteristics and immune microenvironment of PCCs are incompletely understood. Here, we performed single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) on 16 tissues from 4 sporadic unclassified PCC patients and 1 hereditary PCC patient with Von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) syndrome. We found that intra-tumoral heterogeneity was less extensive than the inter-individual heterogeneity of PCCs. Further, the unclassified PCC patients were divided into two types, metabolism-type (marked by NDUFA4L2 and COX4I2) and kinase-type (marked by RET and PNMT), validated by immunohistochemical staining. Trajectory analysis of tumor evolution revealed that metabolism-type PCC cells display phenotype of consistently active metabolism and increased metastasis potential, while kinase-type PCC cells showed decreased epinephrine synthesis and neuron-like phenotypes. Cell-cell communication analysis showed activation of the annexin pathway and a strong inflammation reaction in metabolism-type PCCs and activation of FGF signaling in the kinase-type PCC. Although multispectral immunofluorescence staining showed a lack of CD8+ T cell infiltration in both metabolism-type and kinase-type PCCs, only the kinase-type PCC exhibited downregulation of HLA-I molecules that possibly regulated by RET, suggesting the potential of combined therapy with kinase inhibitors and immunotherapy for kinase-type PCCs; in contrast, the application of immunotherapy to metabolism-type PCCs (with antigen presentation ability) is likely unsuitable. Our study presents a single-cell transcriptomics-based molecular classification and microenvironment characterization of PCCs, providing clues for potential therapeutic strategies to treat PCCs.