Universal sample preparation unlocking multimodal molecular tissue imaging

A new tissue sample embedding and processing method is presented that provides downstream compatibility with numerous different histological, molecular biology, and analytical techniques. The methodology is based on the low temperature embedding of fresh frozen specimens into a hydrogel matrix composed of hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (HPMC) and polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) and sectioning using a cryomicrotome. The hydrogel was expected not to interfere with standard tissue characterization methods, histologically or analytically. We assessed the compatibility of this protocol with various mass spectrometric imaging methods including matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization (MALDI), desorption electrospray ionization (DESI) and secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS). We also demonstrated the suitability of the universal protocol for extraction based molecular biology techniques such as rt-PCR. The integration of multiple analytical modalities through this universal sample preparation protocol offers the ability to study tissues at a systems biology level and directly linking results to tissue morphology and cellular phenotype.

Team Rosetta
Journal Analytical Chemistry
Authors Andreas Dannhorn et al
DATE 10 June 2020
Trop2 is upregulated in the transition to dysplasia in the metaplastic gastric mucosa

Intestinal type gastric adenocarcinoma arises in a field of pre‐existing metaplasia. While biomarkers of cancer and metaplasia have been identified, the definition of dysplastic transition as a critical point in the evolution of cancer has remained obscure. We have evaluated Trop2 as a putative marker of the transition from metaplasia to dysplasia in the stomach in multiple mouse models of metaplasia induction and progression. In addition,TROP2 expression was evaluated in human samples by immunostaining tissue microarrays for metaplasia, dysplasia and gastric cancer. Dysplastic mouse organoids were evaluated in vitro following shRNA knockdown of Trop2 expression. In mouse models, no Trop2 was observed in the normal corpus and Trop2 was not induced in acute models of metaplasia induction with either L635 or DMP‐777. In Mist1‐Kras mice, Trop2 expression was not observed in metaplasia at one month after Kras induction, but was observed in dysplastic glands at 3–4 months after Kras induction. In human tissues, no Trop2 was observed in normal corpus mucosa or SPEM, but Trop2 expression was observed in incomplete intestinal metaplasia, with significantly less expression in complete intestinal metaplasia. Trop2 expression was observed in all dysplastic and 84% of gastric cancer lesions, although expression levels were variable. Dysplastic mouse organoids from Mist1‐Kras mice expressed Trop2 strongly. Knockdown of Trop2 with shRNA markedly reduced organoid growth and budding behavior and induced the upregulation of apical villin expression. We conclude that Trop2 is upregulated in the transition to dysplasia in the stomach and promotes dysplastic cell behaviors.

Team STORMing Cancer
Journal Journal of Pathology
Authors Katherine M. Riera et al
DATE 20 May 2020
Endocrine Autoimmune Disease as a Fragility of Immune Surveillance against Hypersecreting Mutants

Some endocrine organs are frequent targets of autoimmune attack. Here, we addressed the origin of autoimmune disease from the viewpoint of feedback control. Endocrine tissues maintain mass through feedback loops that balance cell proliferation and removal according to hormone-driven regulatory signals. We hypothesized the existence of a dedicated mechanism that detects and removes mutant cells that missense the signal and therefore hyperproliferate and hypersecrete with potential to disrupt organismal homeostasis. In this mechanism, hypersecreting cells are preferentially eliminated by autoreactive T cells at the cost of a fragility to autoimmune disease. The “autoimmune surveillance of hypersecreting mutants” (ASHM) hypothesis predicts the presence of autoreactive T cells in healthy individuals and the nature of self-antigens as peptides from hormone secretion pathway. It explains why some tissues get prevalent autoimmune disease, whereas others do not and instead show prevalent mutant-expansion disease (e.g., hyperparathyroidism). The ASHM hypothesis is testable, and we discuss experimental follow-up.

Team STORMing Cancer
Journal Immunity
Authors Yael Korem Kohanim et al
DATE 19 May 2020
Structure of the mucosal and stool microbiome in Lynch syndrome

The gut microbiota has been associated with colorectal cancer (CRC), but causal alterations preceding CRC have not been elucidated. To prospectively assess microbiome changes prior to colorectal neoplasia, we investigated samples from 100 Lynch syndrome patients using 16S rRNA gene sequencing of colon biopsies, coupled with metagenomic and metatranscriptomic sequencing of feces. Colectomy and CRC history represented the largest effects on microbiome profiles. A subset of Clostridiaceae were depleted in stool corresponding with baseline adenomas, while Desulfovibrio was enriched both in stool and in mucosal biopsies. A classifier leveraging stool metatranscriptomes resulted in modest power to predict interval development of preneoplastic colonic adenoma. Predictive transcripts corresponded with a shift in flagellin contributors and oxidative metabolic microenvironment, potentially factors in local CRC pathogenesis. This suggests that the effectiveness of prospective microbiome monitoring for adenomas may be limited but supports the potential causality of these consistent, early microbial changes in colonic neoplasia.

Journal Cell Host and Microbe
Authors Yan Yan et al
DATE 08 April 2020
Expression of free fatty acid receptor 2 by dendritic cells prevents their expression of interleukin 27 and is required for…

Background & Aims: Intestinal microbes and their metabolites affect the development of colorectal cancer (CRC). Short-chain fatty acids are metabolites generated by intestinal microbes from dietary fiber. We investigated the mechanisms by which free fatty acid receptor 2 (FFAR2), a receptor for short-chain fatty acids that can affect the composition of the intestinal microbiome, contributes to the pathogenesis of CRC.

Methods: We performed studies with ApcMin/+ mice, ApcMin/+Ffar2–/– mice, mice with conditional disruption of Ffar2 in dendritic cells (DCs) (Ffar2fl/flCD11c-Cre mice), ApcMin/+Ffar2fl/flCD11c-Cre mice, and Ffar2fl/fl mice (controls); some mice were given dextran sodium sulfate to induce colitis, with or without a FFAR2 agonist or an antibody against interleukin 27 (IL27). Colon and tumor tissues were analyzed by histology, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, and 16S ribosomal RNA gene sequencing; lamina propria and mesenteric lymph node tissues were analyzed by RNA sequencing and flow cytometry. Intestinal permeability was measured after gavage with fluorescently labeled dextran. We collected data on colorectal tumors from The Cancer Genome Atlas.

Results: ApcMin/+Ffar2–/– mice developed significantly more spontaneous colon tumors than ApcMin/+ mice and had increased gut permeability before tumor development, associated with reduced expression of E-cadherin. Colon tumors from ApcMin/+Ffar2–/– mice had a higher number of bacteria than tumors from ApcMin/+ mice, as well as higher frequencies of CD39+CD8+ T cells and exhausted or dying T cells. DCs from ApcMin/+Ffar2–/– mice had an altered state of activation, increased death, and higher production of IL27. Administration of an antibody against IL27 reduced the numbers of colon tumors in ApcMin/+ mice with colitis. Frequencies of CD39+CD8+ T cells and IL27+ DCs were increased in colon lamina propria from Ffar2fl/flCD11c-Cre mice with colitis compared with control mice or mice without colitis. ApcMin/+Ffar2fl/flCD11c-Cre mice developed even more tumors than ApcMin/+Ffar2fl/fl mice, and their tumors had even higher numbers of IL27+ DCs. ApcMin/+ mice with colitis given the FFAR2 agonist developed fewer colon tumors, with fewer IL27+ DCs, than mice not given the agonist. DCs incubated with the FFAR2 agonist no longer had gene expression patterns associated with activation or IL27 production.

Conclusions: Loss of FFAR2 promotes colon tumorigenesis in mice by reducing gut barrier integrity, increasing tumor bacterial load, promoting exhaustion of CD8+ T cells, and overactivating DCs, leading to their death. Antibodies against IL27 and an FFAR2 agonist reduce tumorigenesis in mice and might be developed for the treatment of CRC.

Journal Gastroenterology
Authors Sydney Lavoie et al
DATE April 2020