WWOX promotes osteosarcoma development via upregulation of Myc

Rania Akkawi, Osama Hidmi, Ameen Haji Yehya, Jonathon Monin, Judith Diment, Yotam Drier, Gary S. Stein, Rami I. Aqeilan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Osteosarcoma is an aggressive bone tumor that primarily affects children and adolescents. This malignancy is highly aggressive, associated with poor clinical outcomes, and primarily metastasizes to the lungs. Due to its rarity and biological heterogeneity, limited studies on its molecular basis exist, hindering the development of effective therapies. The WW domain-containing oxidoreductase (WWOX) is frequently altered in human osteosarcoma. Combined deletion of Wwox and Trp53 using Osterix1-Cre transgenic mice has been shown to accelerate osteosarcoma development. In this study, we generated a traceable osteosarcoma mouse model harboring the deletion of Trp53 alone (single-knockout) or combined deletion of Wwox/Trp53 (double-knockout) and expressing a tdTomato reporter. By tracking Tomato expression at different time points, we detected the early presence of tdTomato-positive cells in the bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells of non-osteosarcoma-bearing mice (young BM). We found that double-knockout young BM cells, but not single-knockout young BM cells, exhibited tumorigenic traits both in vitro and in vivo. Molecular and cellular characterization of these double-knockout young BM cells revealed their resemblance to osteosarcoma tumor cells. Interestingly, one of the observed significant transcriptomic changes in double-knockout young BM cells was the upregulation of Myc and its target genes compared to single-knockout young BM cells. Intriguingly, Myc-chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing revealed its increased enrichment on Myc targets, which were upregulated in double-knockout young BM cells. Restoration of WWOX in double-knockout young BM cells reduced Myc protein levels. As a prototype target, we demonstrated the upregulation of MCM7, a known Myc target, in double-knockout young BM relative to single-knockout young BM cells. Inhibition of MCM7 expression using simvastatin resulted in reduced proliferation and tumor cell growth of double-knockout young BM cells. Our findings reveal BM mesenchymal stem cells as a platform to study osteosarcoma and Myc and its targets as WWOX effectors and early molecular events during osteosarcomagenesis.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number13
JournalCell Death and Disease
Issue number1
StatePublished - 5 Jan 2024

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© 2024, The Author(s).


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