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Published August 2020 | public
Journal Article

Systems biology for investigating drug resistance mechanism of melanoma


Integrated proteomic and metabolic single-cell assays reveal multiple independent adaptive responses to drug tolerance in a BRAF-mutant melanoma cell line. Cancers commonly develop resistance against chemotherapeutics or targeted therapies through various types of genetic or non-genetic mechanisms. Non-genetic mechanisms have been shown to occur early on and can provide a latent reservoir of cells for the emergence of various different type of mechanisms, yet very limited understanding of process were resolve main from bulk analysis. Considering the heterogeneous nature of the tumor cells, a single-cell level characterization of the process worth detailed further investigation. Using MAPK inhibition of BRAF-mutant melanomas as a model system, we resolved that cells take different paths to go from drug-sensitive to drug-resistant state. Using a microfludic-based single-cell integrated proteomic and metabolic assay, we assayed for a panel of signaling, phenotypic, and metabolic regulators at four time points during the first five days of drug treatment. Dimensional reduction of the resultant data set, coupled with information theoretic analysis, uncovered a complex cell state landscape and identified two distinct paths connecting drug-naïve and drug-tolerant states. Cells are shown to exclusively traverse one of the two pathways depending on the level of the lineage restricted transcription factor MITF in the drug-naïve cells. The two trajectories are associated with distinct signaling and metabolic susceptibilities, and are independently druggable. Our results update the paradigm of adaptive resistance development in an isogenic cell population and offer insight into the design of more effective combination therapies.

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© 2020 American Association for Cancer Research.

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August 19, 2023
December 22, 2023