Professional Education

  • Bachelor of Science, Uppsala Universitet (2011)
  • Master of Science, Uppsala Universitet (2012)
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Uppsala Universitet (2016)

All Publications

  • Casein kinase 2 inhibition sensitizes medulloblastoma to temozolomide. Oncogene Nitta, R. T., Bolin, S., Luo, E., Solow-Codero, D. E., Samghabadi, P., Purzner, T., Aujla, P. S., Nwagbo, G., Cho, Y. J., Li, G. 2019


    Medulloblastoma (MB) is the most common malignant pediatric brain tumor. Since surviving patients experience severe neurocognitive disabilities, better and more effective treatments are needed to enhance their quality of life. Casein kinase 2 (CK2) is known to regulate cell growth and survival in multiple cancers; however, the role of CK2 in MB is currently being studied. In this study, we verified the importance of CK2 in MB tumorigenesis and discovered that inhibition of CK2 using the small molecule inhibitor, CX-4945, can sensitize MB cells to a well-known and tolerated chemotherapeutic, temozolomide (TMZ). To study the role of CK2 in MB we modulated CK2 expression in multiple MB cells. Exogenous expression of CK2 enhanced cell growth and tumor growth in mice, while depletion or inhibition of CK2 expression decreased MB tumorigenesis. Treatment with CX-4945 reduced MB growth and increased apoptosis. We conducted a high-throughput screen where 4000 small molecule compounds were analyzed to identify compounds that increased the anti-tumorigenic properties of CX-4945. TMZ was found to work synergistically with CX-4945 to decrease cell survival and increase apoptosis in MB cells. O-6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) activity is directly correlated to TMZ sensitivity. We found that loss of CK2 activity reduced β-catenin expression, a known MGMT regulator, which in turn led to a decrease in MGMT expression and an increased sensitivity to TMZ. Our findings show that CK2 is important for MB maintenance and that treatment with CX-4945 can sensitize MB cells to TMZ treatment.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41388-019-0927-y

    View details for PubMedID 31406250

  • Publisher Correction: Notch1 regulates the initiation of metastasis and self-renewal of Group 3 medulloblastoma. Nature communications Kahn, S. A., Wang, X., Nitta, R. T., Gholamin, S., Theruvath, J., Hutter, G., Azad, T. D., Wadi, L., Bolin, S., Ramaswamy, V., Esparza, R., Liu, K., Edwards, M., Swartling, F. J., Sahoo, D., Li, G., Wechsler-Reya, R. J., Reimand, J., Cho, Y., Taylor, M. D., Weissman, I. L., Mitra, S. S., Cheshier, S. H. 2018; 9 (1): 4651


    The original version of this Article omitted Suzana A. Kahn, Siddhartha S. Mitra & Samuel H. Cheshier as jointly supervising authors. This has now been corrected in both the PDF and HTML versions of the Article.

    View details for PubMedID 30389946

  • CAN RARE SOX9-POSITIVE CELLS INCITE MYC-DRIVEN MEDULLOBLASTOMA RECURRENCE? Bolin, S., Savov, V., Borgenvik, A., Garancher, A., Rosen, G., Rahmanto, A., Hutter, S., Rusert, J., Garzia, L., Fotaki, G., Hill, R. M., Dubuc, A. M., Remke, M., Aner, M., Ramaswamy, V., Clifford, S., Sangfelt, O., Schueller, U., Taylor, M., Wechsler-Reya, R., Weishaupt, H., Swartling, F. OXFORD UNIV PRESS INC. 2018: 276
  • Developmental phosphoproteomics identifies the kinase CK2 as a driver of Hedgehog signaling and a therapeutic target in medulloblastoma. Science signaling Purzner, T., Purzner, J., Buckstaff, T., Cozza, G., Gholamin, S., Rusert, J. M., Hartl, T. A., Sanders, J., Conley, N., Ge, X., Langan, M., Ramaswamy, V., Ellis, L., Litzenburger, U., Bolin, S., Theruvath, J., Nitta, R., Qi, L., Li, X., Li, G., Taylor, M. D., Wechsler-Reya, R. J., Pinna, L. A., Cho, Y., Fuller, M. T., Elias, J. E., Scott, M. P. 2018; 11 (547)


    A major limitation of targeted cancer therapy is the rapid emergence of drug resistance, which often arises through mutations at or downstream of the drug target or through intrinsic resistance of subpopulations of tumor cells. Medulloblastoma (MB), the most common pediatric brain tumor, is no exception, and MBs that are driven by sonic hedgehog (SHH) signaling are particularly aggressive and drug-resistant. To find new drug targets and therapeutics for MB that may be less susceptible to common resistance mechanisms, we used a developmental phosphoproteomics approach in murine granule neuron precursors (GNPs), the developmental cell of origin of MB. The protein kinase CK2 emerged as a driver of hundreds of phosphorylation events during the proliferative, MB-like stage of GNP growth, including the phosphorylation of three of the eight proteins commonly amplified in MB. CK2 was critical to the stabilization and activity of the transcription factor GLI2, a late downstream effector in SHH signaling. CK2 inhibitors decreased the viability of primary SHH-type MB patient cells in culture and blocked the growth of murine MB tumors that were resistant to currently available Hh inhibitors, thereby extending the survival of tumor-bearing mice. Because of structural interactions, one CK2 inhibitor (CX-4945) inhibited both wild-type and mutant CK2, indicating that this drug may avoid at least one common mode of acquired resistance. These findings suggest that CK2 inhibitors may be effective for treating patients with MB and show how phosphoproteomics may be used to gain insight into developmental biology and pathology.

    View details for PubMedID 30206138

  • Casein kinase 2 is a major regulator of medulloblastoma growth Nitta, R., Bolin, S., Nwagbo, G., Purzner, T., Kahn, S., Cho, Y., Li, G. AMER ASSOC CANCER RESEARCH. 2018
  • Combined BET bromodomain and CDK2 inhibition in MYC-driven medulloblastoma. Oncogene Bolin, S., et al 2018
  • Notch1 regulates the initiation of metastasis and self-renewal of Group 3 medulloblastoma. Nature communications Kahn, S. A., Wang, X., Nitta, R. T., Gholamin, S., Theruvath, J., Hutter, G., Azad, T. D., Wadi, L., Bolin, S., Ramaswamy, V., Esparza, R., Liu, K. W., Edwards, M., Swartling, F. J., Sahoo, D., Li, G., Wechsler-Reya, R. J., Reimand, J., Cho, Y. J., Taylor, M. D., Weissman, I. L., Mitra, S. S., Cheshier, S. H. 2018; 9 (1): 4121


    Medulloblastoma is the most common malignant brain tumor of childhood. Group 3 medulloblastoma, the most aggressive molecular subtype, frequently disseminates through the leptomeningeal cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) spaces in the brain and spinal cord. The mechanism of dissemination through the CSF remains poorly understood, and the molecular pathways involved in medulloblastoma metastasis and self-renewal are largely unknown. Here we show that NOTCH1 signaling pathway regulates both the initiation of metastasis and the self-renewal of medulloblastoma. We identify a mechanism in which NOTCH1 activates BMI1 through the activation of TWIST1. NOTCH1 expression and activity are directly related to medulloblastoma metastasis and decreased survival rate of tumor-bearing mice. Finally, medulloblastoma-bearing mice intrathecally treated with anti-NRR1, a NOTCH1 blocking antibody, present lower frequency of spinal metastasis and higher survival rate. These findings identify NOTCH1 as a pivotal driver of Group 3 medulloblastoma metastasis and self-renewal, supporting the development of therapies targeting this pathway.

    View details for PubMedID 30297829

  • Microglia Induce PDGFRB Expression in Glioma Cells to Enhance Their Migratory Capacity. iScience Wallmann, T., Zhang, X. M., Wallerius, M., Bolin, S., Joly, A. L., Sobocki, C., Leiss, L., Jiang, Y., Bergh, J., Holland, E. C., Enger, P. Ø., Andersson, J., Swartling, F. J., Miletic, H., Uhrbom, L., Harris, R. A., Rolny, C. 2018; 9: 71–83


    High-grade gliomas (HGGs) are the most aggressive and invasive primary brain tumors. The platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) signaling pathway drives HGG progression, and enhanced expression of PDGF receptors (PDGFRs) is a well-established aberration in a subset of glioblastomas (GBMs). PDGFRA is expressed in glioma cells, whereas PDGFRB is mostly restricted to the glioma-associated stroma. Here we show that the spatial location of TAMMs correlates with the expansion of a subset of tumor cells that have acquired expression of PDGFRB in both mouse and human low-grade glioma and HCGs. Furthermore, M2-polarized microglia but not bone marrow (BM)-derived macrophages (BMDMs) induced PDGFRB expression in glioma cells and stimulated their migratory capacity. These findings illustrate a heterotypic cross-talk between microglia and glioma cells that may enhance the migratory and invasive capacity of the latter by inducing PDGFRB.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.isci.2018.10.011

    View details for PubMedID 30384135

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6214839

  • Modeling and Targeting MYC Genes in Childhood Brain Tumors. Genes Hutter, S., Bolin, S., Weishaupt, H., Swartling, F. J. 2017; 8 (4)


    Brain tumors are the second most common group of childhood cancers, accounting for about 20%-25% of all pediatric tumors. Deregulated expression of the MYC family of transcription factors, particularly c-MYC and MYCN genes, has been found in many of these neoplasms, and their expression levels are often correlated with poor prognosis. Elevated c-MYC/MYCN initiates and drives tumorigenesis in many in vivo model systems of pediatric brain tumors. Therefore, inhibition of their oncogenic function is an attractive therapeutic target. In this review, we explore the roles of MYC oncoproteins and their molecular targets during the formation, maintenance, and recurrence of childhood brain tumors. We also briefly summarize recent progress in the development of therapeutic approaches for pharmacological inhibition of MYC activity in these tumors.

    View details for DOI 10.3390/genes8040107

    View details for PubMedID 28333115

  • FBW7 suppression leads to SOX9 stabilization and increased malignancy in medulloblastoma EMBO JOURNAL Rahmanto, A. S., Savov, V., Brunner, A., Bolin, S., Weishaupt, H., Malyukova, A., Rosen, G., Cancer, M., Hutter, S., Sundstrom, A., Kawauchi, D., Jones, D. T., Spruck, C., Taylor, M. D., Cho, Y., Pfister, S. M., Kool, M., Korshunov, A., Swartling, F. J., Sangfelt, O. 2016; 35 (20): 2192-2212


    SOX9 is a master transcription factor that regulates development and stem cell programs. However, its potential oncogenic activity and regulatory mechanisms that control SOX9 protein stability are poorly understood. Here, we show that SOX9 is a substrate of FBW7, a tumor suppressor, and a SCF (SKP1/CUL1/F-box)-type ubiquitin ligase. FBW7 recognizes a conserved degron surrounding threonine 236 (T236) in SOX9 that is phosphorylated by GSK3 kinase and consequently degraded by SCF(FBW)(7α) Failure to degrade SOX9 promotes migration, metastasis, and treatment resistance in medulloblastoma, one of the most common childhood brain tumors. FBW7 is either mutated or downregulated in medulloblastoma, and in cases where FBW7 mRNA levels are low, SOX9 protein is significantly elevated and this phenotype is associated with metastasis at diagnosis and poor patient outcome. Transcriptional profiling of medulloblastoma cells expressing a degradation-resistant SOX9 mutant reveals activation of pro-metastatic genes and genes linked to cisplatin resistance. Finally, we show that pharmacological inhibition of PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway activity destabilizes SOX9 in a GSK3/FBW7-dependent manner, rendering medulloblastoma cells sensitive to cytostatic treatment.

    View details for DOI 10.15252/embj.201693889

    View details for PubMedID 27625374

  • Signals that regulate the oncogenic fate of neural stem cells and progenitors EXPERIMENTAL NEUROLOGY Swartling, F. J., Bolin, S., Phillips, J. J., Persson, A. I. 2014; 260: 56-68


    Brain tumors have frequently been associated with a neural stem cell (NSC) origin and contain stem-like tumor cells, so-called brain tumor stem cells (BTSCs) that share many features with normal NSCs. A stem cell state of BTSCs confers resistance to radiotherapy and treatment with alkylating agents. It is also a hallmark of aggressive brain tumors and is maintained by transcriptional networks that are also active in embryonic stem cells. Advances in reprogramming of somatic cells into induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells have further identified genes that drive stemness. In this review, we will highlight the possible drivers of stemness in medulloblastoma and glioma, the most frequent types of primary malignant brain cancer in children and adults, respectively. Signals that drive expansion of developmentally defined neural precursor cells are also active in corresponding brain tumors. Transcriptomal subgroups of human medulloblastoma and glioma match features of NSCs but also more restricted progenitors. Lessons from genetically-engineered mouse (GEM) models show that temporally and regionally defined NSCs can give rise to distinct subgroups of medulloblastoma and glioma. We will further discuss how acquisition of stem cell features may drive brain tumorigenesis from a non-NSC origin. Genetic alterations, signaling pathways, and therapy-induced changes in the tumor microenvironment can drive reprogramming networks and induce stemness in brain tumors. Finally, we propose a model where dysregulation of microRNAs (miRNAs) that normally provide barriers against reprogramming plays an integral role in promoting stemness in brain tumors.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.expneurol.2013.01.027

    View details for Web of Science ID 000341898000008

    View details for PubMedID 23376224

  • BET Bromodomain Inhibition of MYC-Amplified Medulloblastoma. Clinical cancer research Bandopadhayay, P., Bergthold, G., Nguyen, B., Schubert, S., Gholamin, S., Tang, Y., Bolin, S., Schumacher, S. E., Zeid, R., Masoud, S., Yu, F., Vue, N., Gibson, W. J., Paolella, B. R., Mitra, S. S., Cheshier, S. H., Qi, J., Liu, K., Wechsler-Reya, R., Weiss, W. A., Swartling, F. J., Kieran, M. W., Bradner, J. E., Beroukhim, R., Cho, Y. 2014; 20 (4): 912-925


    MYC-amplified medulloblastomas are highly lethal tumors. BET bromodomain inhibition has recently been shown to suppress MYC-associated transcriptional activity in other cancers. The compound JQ1 inhibits BET bromodomain-containing proteins, including BRD4. Here we investigate BET bromodomain targeting for the treatment of MYC-amplified medulloblastoma.We evaluated the effects of genetic and pharmacological inhibition of BET bromodomains on proliferation, cell cycle, and apoptosis in established and newly generated patient- and GEMM-derived medulloblastoma cell lines and xenografts that harbored amplifications of MYC or MYCN. We also assessed the effect of JQ1 on MYC expression and global MYC-associated transcriptional activity. We assessed in vivo efficacy of JQ1 in orthotopic xenografts established in immunocompromised mice.Treatment of MYC-amplified medulloblastoma cells with JQ1 decreased cell viability associated with arrest at G1 and apoptosis. We observed down-regulation of MYC expression and confirmed inhibition of MYC-associated transcriptional targets. Exogenous expression of MYC from a retroviral promoter reduced the effect of JQ1 on cell viability, suggesting that attenuated levels of MYC contribute to the functional effects of JQ1. JQ1 significantly prolonged survival of orthotopic xenograft models of MYC-amplified medulloblastoma (p<0.001). Xenografts harvested from mice after five doses of JQ1 had reduced expression of MYC mRNA and a reduced proliferative index.JQ1 suppresses MYC expression and MYC-associated transcriptional activity in medulloblastomas, resulting in an overall decrease in medulloblastoma cell viability. These preclinical findings highlight the promise of BET bromodomain inhibitors as novel agents for MYC-amplified medulloblastoma.

    View details for DOI 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-13-2281

    View details for PubMedID 24297863

  • Mast Cell Chymase Degrades the Alarmins Heat Shock Protein 70, Biglycan, HMGB1, and Interleukin-33 (IL-33) and Limits Danger-induced Inflammation JOURNAL OF BIOLOGICAL CHEMISTRY Roy, A., Ganesh, G., Sippola, H., Bolin, S., Sawesi, O., Dagalv, A., Schlenner, S. M., Feyerabend, T., Rodewald, H., Kjellen, L., Hellman, L., Abrink, M. 2014; 289 (1): 237-250


    During infection and tissue damage, virulence factors and alarmins are pro-inflammatory and induce activation of various immune cells including macrophages and mast cells (MCs). Activated MCs instantly release preformed inflammatory mediators, including several proteases. The chymase mouse mast cell protease (MCPT)-4 is thought to be pro-inflammatory, whereas human chymase also degrades pro-inflammatory cytokines, suggesting that chymase instead limits inflammation. Here we explored the contribution of MCPT4 and human chymase to the control of danger-induced inflammation. We found that protein extracts from wild type (WT), carboxypeptidase A3-, and MCPT6-deficient mice and MCs and recombinant human chymase efficiently degrade the Trichinella spiralis virulence factor heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70) as well as endogenous Hsp70. MC-(W(sash))-, serglycin-, NDST2-, and MCPT4-deficient extracts lacked this capacity, indicating that chymase is responsible for the degradation. Chymase, but not MC tryptase, also degraded other alarmins, i.e. biglycan, HMGB1, and IL-33, a degradation that was efficiently blocked by the chymase inhibitor chymostatin. IL-7, IL-22, GM-CSF, and CCL2 were resistant to chymase degradation. MCPT4-deficient conditions ex vivo and in vivo showed no reduction in added Hsp70 and only minor reduction of IL-33. Peritoneal challenge with Hsp70 resulted in increased neutrophil recruitment and TNF-α levels in the MCPT4-deficient mice, whereas IL-6 and CCL2 levels were similar to the levels found in WT mice. The rapid and MC chymase-specific degradation of virulence factors and alarmins may depend on the presence of accessible extended recognition cleavage sites in target substrates and suggests a protective and regulatory role of MC chymase during danger-induced inflammation.

    View details for DOI 10.1074/jbc.M112.435156

    View details for Web of Science ID 000329370900021

    View details for PubMedID 24257755