Professional Education

  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Pennsylvania (2017)
  • Bachelor of Science, University of Pennsylvania (2010)

All Publications

  • Exosome RNA Unshielding Couples Stromal Activation to Pattern Recognition Receptor Signaling in Cancer. Cell Nabet, B. Y., Qiu, Y., Shabason, J. E., Wu, T. J., Yoon, T., Kim, B. C., Benci, J. L., DeMichele, A. M., Tchou, J., Marcotrigiano, J., Minn, A. J. 2017; 170 (2): 352–66.e13


    Interactions between stromal fibroblasts and cancer cells generate signals for cancer progression, therapy resistance, and inflammatory responses. Although endogenous RNAs acting as damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs) for pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) may represent one such signal, these RNAs must remain unrecognized under non-pathological conditions. We show that triggering of stromal NOTCH-MYC by breast cancer cells results in a POL3-driven increase in RN7SL1, an endogenous RNA normally shielded by RNA binding proteins SRP9/14. This increase in RN7SL1 alters its stoichiometry with SRP9/14 and generates unshielded RN7SL1 in stromal exosomes. After exosome transfer to immune cells, unshielded RN7SL1 drives an inflammatory response. Upon transfer to breast cancer cells, unshielded RN7SL1 activates the PRR RIG-I to enhance tumor growth, metastasis, and therapy resistance. Corroborated by evidence from patient tumors and blood, these results demonstrate that regulation of RNA unshielding couples stromal activation with deployment of RNA DAMPs that promote aggressive features of cancer. VIDEO ABSTRACT.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.cell.2017.06.031

    View details for PubMedID 28709002

  • Exosome Transfer from Stromal to Breast Cancer Cells Regulates Therapy Resistance Pathways CELL Boelens, M. C., Wu, T. J., Nabet, B. Y., Xu, B., Qiu, Y., Yoon, T., Azzam, D. J., Victor, C. T., Wiemann, B. Z., Ishwaran, H., ter Brugge, P. J., Jonkers, J., Slingerland, J., Minn, A. J. 2014; 159 (3): 499-513


    Stromal communication with cancer cells can influence treatment response. We show that stromal and breast cancer (BrCa) cells utilize paracrine and juxtacrine signaling to drive chemotherapy and radiation resistance. Upon heterotypic interaction, exosomes are transferred from stromal to BrCa cells. RNA within exosomes, which are largely noncoding transcripts and transposable elements, stimulates the pattern recognition receptor RIG-I to activate STAT1-dependent antiviral signaling. In parallel, stromal cells also activate NOTCH3 on BrCa cells. The paracrine antiviral and juxtacrine NOTCH3 pathways converge as STAT1 facilitates transcriptional responses to NOTCH3 and expands therapy-resistant tumor-initiating cells. Primary human and/or mouse BrCa analysis support the role of antiviral/NOTCH3 pathways in NOTCH signaling and stroma-mediated resistance, which is abrogated by combination therapy with gamma secretase inhibitors. Thus, stromal cells orchestrate an intricate crosstalk with BrCa cells by utilizing exosomes to instigate antiviral signaling. This expands BrCa subpopulations adept at resisting therapy and reinitiating tumor growth.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.cell.2014.09.051

    View details for Web of Science ID 000344521700008

    View details for PubMedID 25417103

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4283810

  • Basal and stress-induced Hsp70 are modulated by ataxin-3 CELL STRESS & CHAPERONES Reina, C. P., Nabet, B. Y., Young, P. D., Pittman, R. N. 2012; 17 (6): 729-742


    Regulation of basal and induced levels of hsp70 is critical for cellular homeostasis. Ataxin-3 is a deubiquitinase with several cellular functions including transcriptional regulation and maintenance of protein homeostasis. While investigating potential roles of ataxin-3 in response to cellular stress, it appeared that ataxin-3 regulated hsp70. Basal levels of hsp70 were lower in ataxin-3 knockout (KO) mouse brain from 2 to 63 weeks of age and hsp70 was also lower in fibroblasts from ataxin-3 KO mice. Transfecting KO cells with ataxin-3 rescued basal levels of hsp70 protein. Western blots of representative chaperones including hsp110, hsp90, hsp70, hsc70, hsp60, hsp40/hdj2, and hsp25 indicated that only hsp70 was appreciably altered in KO fibroblasts and KO mouse brain. Turnover of hsp70 protein was similar in wild-type (WT) and KO cells; however, basal hsp70 promoter reporter activity was decreased in ataxin-3 KO cells. Transfecting ataxin-3 restored hsp70 basal promoter activity in KO fibroblasts to levels of promoter activity in WT cells; however, mutations that inactivated deubiquitinase activity or the ubiquitin interacting motifs did not restore full activity to hsp70 basal promoter activity. Hsp70 protein and promoter activity were higher in WT compared to KO cells exposed to heat shock and azetidine-2-carboxylic acid, but WT and KO cells had similar levels in response to cadmium. Heat shock factor-1 had decreased levels and increased turnover in ataxin-3 KO fibroblasts. Data in this study are consistent with ataxin-3 regulating basal level of hsp70 as well as modulating hsp70 in response to a subset of cellular stresses.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s12192-012-0346-2

    View details for Web of Science ID 000309857400009

    View details for PubMedID 22777893

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3468683

  • Combining ATR Suppression with Oncogenic Ras Synergistically Increases Genomic Instability, Causing Synthetic Lethality or Tumorigenesis in a Dosage-Dependent Manner CANCER RESEARCH Gilad, O., Nabet, B. Y., Ragland, R. L., Schoppy, D. W., Smith, K. D., Durham, A. C., Brown, E. J. 2010; 70 (23): 9693-9702


    Previous studies indicate that oncogenic stress activates the ATR-Chk1 pathway. Here, we show that ATR-Chk1 pathway engagement is essential for limiting genomic instability following oncogenic Ras transformation. ATR pathway inhibition in combination with oncogenic Ras expression synergistically increased genomic instability, as quantified by chromatid breaks, sister chromatid exchanges, and H2AX phosphorylation. This level of instability was significantly greater than that observed following ATR suppression in untransformed control cells. In addition, consistent with a deficiency in long-term genome maintenance, hypomorphic ATR pathway reduction to 16% of normal levels was synthetic lethal with oncogenic Ras expression in cultured cells. Notably, elevated genomic instability and synthetic lethality following suppression of ATR were not due to accelerated cycling rates in Ras-transformed cells, indicating that these synergistic effects were generated on a per-cell-cycle basis. In contrast to the synthetic lethal effects of hypomorphic ATR suppression, subtle reduction of ATR expression (haploinsufficiency) in combination with endogenous levels of K-ras(G12D) expression elevated the incidence of lung adenocarcinoma, spindle cell sarcoma, and thymic lymphoma in p53 heterozygous mice. K-ras(G12D)-induced tumorigenesis in ATR(+/-)p53(+/-) mice was associated with intrachromosomal deletions and loss of wild-type p53. These findings indicate that synergistic increases in genomic instability following ATR reduction in oncogenic Ras-transformed cells can produce 2 distinct biological outcomes: synthetic lethality upon significant suppression of ATR expression and tumor promotion in the context of ATR haploinsufficiency. These results highlight the importance of the ATR pathway both as a barrier to malignant progression and as a potential target for cancer treatment.

    View details for DOI 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-10-2286

    View details for Web of Science ID 000285045900019

    View details for PubMedID 21098704

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3057927