The disorazoles comprise a family of 29 closely related macrocyclic polyketides isolated in 1994 from the fermentation broth of the gliding myxobacterium Sorangium cellulosum. Disorazoles A1, E and C1 have shown exceptional biological activities toward inhibiting the proliferation of human cancer cell lines in picomolar and nanomolar concentrations through the disruption of microtubule polymerization. This review gives a brief introduction describing the biosynthesis and the significance of the disorazoles as a new class of microtubulin disruptors. Another portion of the review focuses on the biology of the disorazoles, specifically disorazole A1 and C1, and their antiproliferative efficacy against animal and human tumor cell lines, as well as the available SAR data. The majority of the discussion addresses synthetic efforts, including partial syntheses of various disorazoles and a summary of the total synthesis of disorazole C1.
Disorazoles comprise a family of 29 macrocyclic polyketides isolated from the fermentation broth of the myxobacterium Sorangium cellulosum. The major fermentation product, disorazole A1, was previously found to irreversibly bind to tubulin and to have potent cytotoxic activity against tumor cells, possibly due to its highly electrophilic epoxide moiety. To test this hypothesis, we synthesized the epoxide-free disorazole C1 and found it retained potent antiproliferative activity against tumor cells, causing prominent G2/M phase arrest and inhibition of in vitro tubulin polymerization. Furthermore, disorazole C1 produced disorganized microtubules at interphase, misaligned chromosomes during mitosis, apoptosis, and premature senescence in the surviving cell populations. Using a tubulin polymerization assay, we found disorazole C1 inhibited purified bovine tubulin polymerization with an IC50 of 11.8 ± 0.4 μM and inhibited [3H]vinblastine binding uncompetitively with a Ki of 4.5 ± 0.6 μM. We also found uncompetitive inhibition of [3H]dolastatin 10 binding by disorazole C1 with a Ki of 10.6 ± 1.5 μM, indicating that disorazole C1 bound tubulin uniquely among known antimitotic agents. Disorazole C1 could be a valuable chemical probe for studying the process of mitotic spindle disruption and its relationship to premature senescence.
The total synthesis of a bis-cyclopropane analog of the antimitotic natural product (-)-disorazole C1 was accomplished in 23 steps and 1.1% overall yield. A vinyl cyclopropane cross-metathesis reaction generated a key (E)-alkene segment of the target molecule. IC50 determinations of (-)-CP2-disorazole C1 in human colon cancer cell lines indicated low nanomolar cytotoxic properties. Accordingly, this synthetic bioisostere represents the first biologically active disorazole analog not containing a conjugated diene or polyene substructure element.
The spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC) inhibits anaphase progression in the presence of insufficient kinetochore-microtubule attachments, but cells can eventually override mitotic arrest by a process known as mitotic slippage or adaptation. This is a problem for cancer chemotherapy using microtubule poisons.
Here we describe mitotic slippage in yeast bub2Δ mutant cells that are defective in the repression of precocious telophase onset (mitotic exit). Precocious activation of anaphase promoting complex/cyclosome (APC/C)-Cdh1 caused mitotic slippage in the presence of nocodazole, while the SAC was still active. APC/C-Cdh1, but not APC/C-Cdc20, triggered anaphase progression (securin degradation, separase-mediated cohesin cleavage, sister-chromatid separation and chromosome missegregation), in addition to telophase onset (mitotic exit), during mitotic slippage. This demonstrates that an inhibitory system not only of APC/C-Cdc20 but also of APC/C-Cdh1 is critical for accurate chromosome segregation in the presence of insufficient kinetochore-microtubule attachments.
The sequential activation of APC/C-Cdc20 to APC/C-Cdh1 during mitosis is central to accurate mitosis. Precocious activation of APC/C-Cdh1 in metaphase (pre-anaphase) causes mitotic slippage in SAC-activated cells. For the prevention of mitotic slippage, concomitant inhibition of APC/C-Cdh1 may be effective for tumor therapy with mitotic spindle poisons in humans.
Anaphase promoting complex/cyclosome (APC/C); Bub2; Cdh1; mitotic exit network (MEN); mitotic slippage; Saccharomyces cerevisiae; securin
When the spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC) cannot be satisfied, cells exit mitosis via mitotic slippage. In microtubule (MT) poisons, slippage requires cyclin B proteolysis, and it appears to be accelerated in drug concentrations that allow some MT assembly. To determine if MTs accelerate slippage, we followed mitosis in human RPE-1 cells exposed to various spindle poisons. At 37°C, the duration of mitosis in nocodazole, colcemid, or vinblastine concentrations that inhibit MT assembly varied from 20 to 30 h, revealing that different MT poisons differentially depress the cyclin B destruction rate during slippage. The duration of mitosis in Eg5 inhibitors, which induce monopolar spindles without disrupting MT dynamics, was the same as in cells lacking MTs. Thus, in the presence of numerous unattached kinetochores, MTs do not accelerate slippage. Finally, compared with cells lacking MTs, exit from mitosis is accelerated over a range of spindle poison concentrations that allow MT assembly because the SAC becomes satisfied on abnormal spindles and not because slippage is accelerated.
Kinesin-5 inhibitors (K5Is) are promising anti-mitotic cancer drug candidates. They cause prolonged mitotic arrest and death of cancer cells, but their full range of phenotypic effects in different cell types has been unclear. Using time-lapse microscopy of cancer and normal cell lines, we find that a novel K5I causes several different cancer and non-cancer cell types to undergo prolonged arrest in monopolar mitosis. Subsequent events, however, differed greatly between cell types. Normal diploid cells mostly slipped from mitosis and arrested in tetraploid G1, with little cell death. Several cancer cell lines either died during mitotic arrest, or following slippage. Contrary to prevailing views, mitotic slippage was not required for death, and the duration of mitotic arrest correlated poorly with the probability of death in most cell lines. We also assayed drug reversibility, and long-term responses after transient drug exposure in MCF7 breast cancer cells. While many cells divided after drug washout during mitosis, this treatment resulted in lower survival compared to washout after spontaneous slippage, likely due to chromosome segregation errors in the cells that divided. Our analysis shows that K5Is cause cancer-selective cell killing, provides important kinetic information for understanding clinical responses, and elucidates mechanisms of drug sensitivity versus resistance at the level of phenotype.
experimental therapeutics; mitotic drugs; Kinesin-5; live-cell imaging
Current anti-mitotics work by perturbing spindle assembly, which activates the spindle assembly checkpoint, causes mitotic arrest, and triggers apoptosis. Cancer cells can resist such killing by premature exit, before cells initiate apoptosis, due to a weak checkpoint or rapid slippage. We reasoned blocking mitotic exit downstream of the checkpoint might circumvent this resistance. Using single-cell approaches, we showed that blocking mitotic exit by Cdc20 knockdown slowed cyclin B1 proteolysis, thus allowed more time for death initiation. Killing by Cdc20 knockdown did not require checkpoint activity, and can occur by intrinsic apoptosis, or an alternative death pathway when Bcl2 was over-expressed. We conclude targeting Cdc20, or otherwise blocking mitotic exit, may be a better cancer therapeutic strategy than perturbing spindle assembly.
Anti-mitotic chemotherapeutic agents such as taxanes activate the spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC) to arrest anaphase onset, but taxane-exposed cells eventually undergo slippage to exit mitosis. The therapeutic efficacy of taxanes depends on whether slippage after SAC arrest culminates in continued cell survival, or in death by apoptosis. However, the mechanisms that determine these outcomes remain unclear. Here, we identify a novel role for cyclin G1 (CCNG1), an atypical cyclin. Increased CCNG1 expression accompanies paclitaxel-induced, SAC-mediated mitotic arrest, independent of p53 integrity or signaling through the SAC component, BUBR1. CCNG1 overexpression promotes cell survival after paclitaxel exposure. Conversely, CCNG1 depletion by RNA interference delays slippage and enhances paclitaxel-induced apoptosis. Consistent with these observations, CCNG1 amplification is associated with significantly shorter post-surgical survival in patients with ovarian cancer who have received adjuvant chemotherapy with taxanes and platinum compounds. Collectively, our findings implicate CCNG1 in regulating slippage and the outcome of taxane-induced mitotic arrest, with potential implications for cancer therapy.
mitotic checkpoint; cyclin G1; anti-mitotic drugs; cancer therapy
Microtubule-targeting drugs induce mitotic delay at pro-metaphase by preventing the spindle assembly checkpoint to be satisfied. However, especially after prolonged treatments, cells can escape this arrest in a process called mitotic slippage. The mechanisms underlying the spindle assembly checkpoint and slippage are not fully understood. It has been generally accepted that during mitosis there is a temporary shutdown of high-energy-consuming processes, such as transcription and translation. However, the synthesis of specific proteins is maintained or up-regulated since protein synthesis is necessary for entry into and progression through mitosis.
In this work we investigated whether the mitotic arrest caused by the mitotic checkpoint is independent of transcription and translation. By using immunofluorescent microscopy and western blotting, we demonstrate that inhibition of either of these processes induces a shortening of the mitotic arrest caused by the nocodazole treatment, and ultimately leads to mitotic slippage. Our western blotting and RTQ-PCR results show that inhibition of transcription during mitotic arrest does not affect the expression of the spindle checkpoint proteins, whereas it induces a significant decrease in the mRNA and protein levels of Cyclin B1. The exogenous expression of Cyclin B1 substantially rescued the mitotic phenotype in nocodazole cells treated with the inhibitors of transcription and translation.
This work emphasizes the importance of transcription and translation for the maintenance of the spindle assembly checkpoint, suggesting the existence of a mechanism dependent on cyclin B1 gene regulation during mitosis. We propose that continuous transcription of mitotic regulators is required to sustain the activation of the spindle assembly checkpoint.
The 1.51 Å resolution X-ray crystal structure of the trans-acyltransferase (AT) from the “AT-less” disorazole synthase (DSZS), and its acetate complex at 1.35 Å resolution, are reported. Separately, comprehensive alanine scanning mutagenesis of one of its acyl carrier protein substrates (ACP1 from DSZS) led to the identification of a conserved Asp45 residue on the ACP, which contributes to the substrate specificity of this unusual enzyme. Together, these experimental findings were used to derive a model for the selective association of the DSZS AT and its ACP substrate. Towards the goal of structurally characterizing the AT-ACP interface, a strategy was developed for covalently cross-linking active site Ser→Cys mutant of the DSZS AT to its ACP substrate, and for purifying the resulting AT-ACP complex to homogeneity. The S86C DSZS AT mutant was found to be functional, albeit with a 200-fold lower transacylation efficiency than its wild-type counterpart. Our findings provide new insights as well as new opportunities for high-resolution analysis of an important protein-protein interface in polyketide synthases.
Cancer relies upon frequent or abnormal cell division but how the tumor microenvironment affects mitotic processes in vivo remains unclear, largely due to the technical challenges of optical access, spatial resolution, and motion. We developed high-resolution in vivo microscopy methods to visualize mitosis in a murine xenograft model of human cancer. Using these methods, we determined whether the single-cell response to the anti-mitotic drug paclitaxel was the same in tumors as in cell culture; observed the impact of paclitaxel (Ptx) on the tumor response as a whole; and evaluated the single-cell pharmacodynamics of paclitaxel (by in vivo pharmacodynamic microscopy [IPDM]). Mitotic initiation was generally less frequent in tumors than in cell culture, but subsequently it proceeded normally. Paclitaxel treatment caused spindle assembly defects and mitotic arrest, followed by slippage from mitotic arrest, multinucleation and apoptosis. Compared to cell culture, the peak mitotic index in tumors exposed to paclitaxel was lower and the tumor cells survived longer after mitotic arrest, becoming multinucleated rather than dying directly from mitotic arrest. Thus, the tumor microenvironment was much less pro-apoptotic than cell culture. The morphologies associated with mitotic arrest were dose- and time-dependent, thereby providing a semi-quantitative, single-cell measure of pharmacodynamics. Although many tumor cells did not progress through Ptx-induced mitotic arrest, tumor significantly regressed in the model. Our findings demonstrate that in vivo microscopy offers a useful tool to visualize mitosis during tumor progression, drug responses, and cell fate at the single cell level.
pharmacodynamics; in vivo microscopy; therapeutics; mitosis
Andrographolide (Andro) suppresses proliferation and triggers apoptosis in many types of cancer cells. Taxifolin (Taxi) has been proposed to prevent cancer development similar to other dietary flavonoids. In the present study, the cytotoxic and apoptotic effects of the addition of Andro alone and Andro and Taxi together on human prostate carcinoma DU145 cells were assessed. Andro inhibited prostate cancer cell proliferation by mitotic arrest and activation of the intrinsic apoptotic pathway. Although the effect of Taxi alone on DU145 cell proliferation was not significant, the combined use of Taxi with Andro significantly potentiated the anti-proliferative effect of increased mitotic arrest and apoptosis by enhancing the cleavage of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase, and caspases-7 and -9. Andro together with Taxi enhanced microtubule polymerization in vitro, and they induced the formation of twisted and elongated spindles in the cancer cells, thus leading to mitotic arrest. In addition, we showed that depletion of MAD2, a component in the spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC), alleviated the mitotic block induced by the two compounds, suggesting that they trigger mitotic arrest by SAC activation. This study suggests that the anti-cancer activity of Andro can be significantly enhanced in combination with Taxi by disrupting microtubule dynamics and activating the SAC.
BACKGROUND: At therapeutic concentrations, the antineoplastic agent taxol selectively perturbs mitotic spindle microtubules. Taxol has recently been shown to induce apoptosis, similar to the mechanism of cell death induced by other antineoplastic agents. However, taxol has shown efficacy against drug-refractory cancers, raising the possibility that this pharmacological agent may trigger an alternative apoptotic pathway. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The kinetics and IC50 of mitotic (M) block, aberrant mitosis, and cytotoxicity following taxol treatment were analyzed in human cell lines as well as normal mouse embryo fibroblasts (MEFs) and MEFs derived from p53-null mice. Apoptosis was followed by DNA gel electrophoresis and by in situ DNA end-labeling (TUNEL). RESULTS: Taxol induced two forms of cell cycle arrest: either directly in early M at prophase or, for those cells progressing through aberrant mitosis, arrest in G1 as multimininucleated cells. TUNEL labeling revealed that DNA nicking occurred within 30 min of the arrest in prophase. In contrast, G1-arrested, multimininucleated cells became TUNEL positive only after several days. In the subset of cells that became blocked directly in prophase, both wt p53-expressing and p53-null MEFs responded similarly to taxol, showing rapid onset of DNA nicking and apoptosis. However, p53-null MEFs progressing through aberrant mitosis failed to arrest in the subsequent G1 phase or to become TUNEL positive, and remained viable. CONCLUSIONS: Taxol induces two forms of cell cycle arrest, which in turn induce two independent apoptotic pathways. Arrest in prophase induces rapid onset of a p53-independent pathway, whereas G1-block and the resulting slow (3-5 days) apoptotic pathway are p53 dependent.
While microtubule poisons are commonly used for the treatment of diverse malignancies, relatively little is known about cellular factors that determine the relative efficacy of these drugs. Here, we identified the NIMA kinase, Nek4, in a genetic screen for mediators of the response to the front-line chemotherapeutic taxol. To identify the mechanism underlying taxol resistance in Nek4-deficient cells, we examined Nek4 function in mitosis and microtubule homeostasis. Notably, we found that Nek4 promotes microtubule outgrowth following transient depolymerization. Additionally, cells lacking Nek4 showed an impaired G2/M arrest following taxol treatment, as well as a decrease in mitotic-like asters, further suggesting a role for Nek4 in the regulation of microtubule assembly. Interestingly, Nek4 suppression also sensitized cancer cells to vincristine, another microtubule poison with a distinct mechanism of action. Therefore, Nek4 deficiency may either antagonize or promote the effects of microtubule poisons, depending on whether an individual drug hyper- or hypo-stabilizes microtubule polymers. While this phenomenon has previously been documented for cells bearing specific tubulin mutations, these data provide yet another example of how an alteration promoting drug resistance in a particular tumor can simultaneously enhance the efficacy of another, similar conventional chemotherapeutic. Of note, Nek4 is located in a commonly deleted genomic locus in non-small cell lung cancer. Consequently, these data also suggest a rationale for the selective use of particular microtubule poisons in specific lung cancer patients.
Tubulin-targeted agents; animal models; novel mechanisms
Microtubule drugs are effective anti-cancer agents, primarily due to their ability to induce mitotic arrest and subsequent cell death. However, some cancer cells are intrinsically resistant or acquire a resistance. Lack of apoptosis following mitotic arrest is thought to contribute to drug resistance that limits the efficacy of the microtubule-targeting anti-cancer drugs. Genetic or pharmacological agents that selectively facilitate the apoptosis of mitotic arrested cells present opportunities to strengthen the therapeutic efficacy.
Methodology and Principal Findings
We report a natural product Celastrol targets tubulin and facilitates mitotic cell death caused by microtubule drugs. First, in a small molecule screening effort, we identify Celastrol as an inhibitor of neutrophil chemotaxis. Subsequent time-lapse imaging analyses reveal that inhibition of microtubule-mediated cellular processes, including cell migration and mitotic chromosome alignment, is the earliest events affected by Celastrol. Disorganization, not depolymerization, of mitotic spindles appears responsible for mitotic defects. Celastrol directly affects the biochemical properties of tubulin heterodimer in vitro and reduces its protein level in vivo. At the cellular level, Celastrol induces a synergistic apoptosis when combined with conventional microtubule-targeting drugs and manifests an efficacy toward Taxol-resistant cancer cells. Finally, by time-lapse imaging and tracking of microtubule drug-treated cells, we show that Celastrol preferentially induces apoptosis of mitotic arrested cells in a caspase-dependent manner. This selective effect is not due to inhibition of general cell survival pathways or mitotic kinases that have been shown to enhance microtubule drug-induced cell death.
Conclusions and Significance
We provide evidence for new cellular pathways that, when perturbed, selectively induce the apoptosis of mitotic arrested cancer cells, identifying a potential new strategy to enhance the therapeutic efficacy of conventional microtubule-targeting anti-cancer drugs.
Microtubule targeting drugs are successful in chemotherapy because they indefinitely activate the spindle assembly checkpoint. The spindle assembly checkpoint monitors proper attachment of all kinetochores to microtubules and tension between the kinetochores of sister chromatids to prevent premature anaphase entry. To this end, the activated spindle assembly checkpoint suppresses the E3 ubiquitin ligase activity of the anaphase-promoting complex (APC). In the continued presence of conditions that activate the spindle assembly checkpoint, cells eventually escape from mitosis by “slippage”. It has not been directly tested whether APC activation accompanies slippage. Using cells blocked in mitosis with the microtubule assembly inhibitor nocodazole, we show that mitotic APC substrates are degraded upon mitotic slippage. To confirm that APC is normally activated upon mitotic slippage we have found that knockdown of Cdc20 and Cdh1, two mitotic activators of APC, prevents the degradation of APC substrates during mitotic slippage. We provide the first direct demonstration that despite conditions that activate the spindle checkpoint, APC is indeed activated upon mitotic slippage of cells to interphase cells. Activation of the spindle checkpoint by microtubule targeting drugs used in chemotherapy may not indefinitely prevent APC activation.
anaphase promoting complex; Cdc20; Cdh1; mitotic slippage; spindle assembly checkpoint
In order to investigate the cell death-inducing effects of rotenone, a plant extract commonly used as a mitochondrial complex I inhibitor, we studied cancer cell lines with different genetic backgrounds. Rotenone inhibits cell growth through the induction of cell death and cell cycle arrest, associated with the development of mitotic catastrophe. The cell death inducer staurosporine potentiates the inhibition of cell growth by rotenone in a dose-dependent synergistic manner. The tumor suppressor p53 is involved in rotenone-induced cell death, since the drug treatment results in increased expression, phosphorylation and nuclear localization of the protein. The evaluation of the effects of rotenone on a p53-deficient cell line revealed that although not required for the promotion of mitotic catastrophe, functional p53 appears to be essential for the extensive cell death that occurs afterwards. Our results suggest that mitotic slippage also occurs subsequently to the rotenone-induced mitotic arrest and cells treated with the drug for a longer period become senescent. Treatment of mtDNA-depleted cells with rotenone induces cell death and cell cycle arrest as in cells containing wild type mtDNA, but not formation of reactive oxygen species. This suggests that the effects of rotenone are not dependent from the production of reactive oxygen species. This work highlights the multiple effects of rotenone in cancer cells related to its action as an anti-mitotic drug.
cell death; rotenone; p53; mitotic catastrophe; cell cycle
Variability in cell-to-cell behavior within clonal populations can be attributed to the inherent stochasticity of biochemical reactions. Most single-cell studies have examined variation in behavior due to randomness in gene transcription. Here we investigate the mechanism of cell fate choice and the origin of cell-to-cell variation during mitotic arrest, when transcription is silenced. Prolonged mitotic arrest is commonly observed in cells treated with anti-mitotic drugs. Cell fate during mitotic arrest is determined by two alternative pathways, one promoting cell death, the other promoting cyclin B1 degradation, which leads to mitotic slippage and survival. It has been unclear whether these pathways are mechanistically coupled or independent. In this study we experimentally uncoupled these two pathways using zVAD-fmk to block cell death or Cdc20 knockdown to block slippage. We then used time-lapse imaging to score the kinetics of single cells adopting the remaining fate. We also used kinetic simulation to test whether the behaviors of death versus slippage in cell populations where both pathways are active can be quantitatively recapitulated by a model that assumes stochastic competition between the pathways. Our data are well fit by a model where the two pathways are mechanistically independent, and cell fate is determined by a stochastic kinetic competition between them that results in cell-to-cell variation.
Many mitosis inhibitors are powerful anticancer drugs. Tremendous efforts have been made to identify new anti-mitosis compounds for developing more effective and less toxic anti-cancer drugs. We have identified LJK-11, a synthetic analog of 5, 8-disubstituted quinazolines, as a novel mitotic blocker. LJK-11 inhibited growth and induced apoptosis of many different types of tumor cells. It prevented mitotic spindle formation and arrested cells at early phase of mitosis. Detailed in vitro analysis demonstrated that LJK-11 inhibited microtubule polymerization. In addition, LJK-11 had synergistic effect with another microtubule inhibitor colchicine on blocking mitosis, but not with vinblastine or nocodazole. Therefore, LJK-11 represents a novel anti-microtubule structure. Understanding the function and mechanism of LJK-11 will help us to better understand the action of anti-microtubule agents and to design better anti-cancer drugs.
During a normal cell cycle, the transition from G2 phase to mitotic phase is triggered by the activation of the cyclin B1-dependent Cdc2 kinase. Here we report our finding that treatment of MCF-7 human breast cancer cells with nocodazole, a prototypic microtubule inhibitor, results in strong up-regulation of cyclin B1 and Cdc2 levels, and their increases are required for the development of mitotic prometaphase arrest and characteristic phenotypes.
It was observed that there was a time-dependent early increase in cyclin B1 and Cdc2 protein levels (peaking between 12 and 24 h post treatment), and their levels started to decline after the initial increase. This early up-regulation of cyclin B1 and Cdc2 closely matched in timing the nocodazole-induced mitotic prometaphase arrest. Selective knockdown of cyclin B1or Cdc2 each abrogated nocodazole-induced accumulation of prometaphase cells. The nocodazole-induced prometaphase arrest was also abrogated by pre-treatment of cells with roscovitine, an inhibitor of cyclin-dependent kinases, or with cycloheximide, a protein synthesis inhibitor that was found to suppress cyclin B1 and Cdc2 up-regulation. In addition, we found that MAD2 knockdown abrogated nocodazole-induced accumulation of cyclin B1 and Cdc2 proteins, which was accompanied by an attenuation of nocodazole-induced prometaphase arrest.
These observations demonstrate that the strong early up-regulation of cyclin B1 and Cdc2 contributes critically to the rapid and selective accumulation of prometaphase-arrested cells, a phenomenon associated with exposure to microtubule inhibitors.
Combining microtubule-targeting anti-mitotic drugs with targeted apoptosis potentiators is a promising new chemotherapeutic strategy to treat cancer. In this study we investigate the cellular mechanism by which Navitoclax (previously called ABT-263), a Bcl-2 family inhibitor, potentiates apoptosis triggered by paclitaxel and an inhibitor of Kinesin-5 (KSP), across a panel of epithelial cancer lines. Using time-lapse microscopy, we show that Navitoclax has little effect on cell death during interphase, but strongly accelerates apoptosis during mitotic arrest, and greatly increases the fraction of apoptosis-resistant cells that die. By systematically knocking down individual Bcl-2 proteins we determined that Mcl-1 and Bcl-xL are the primary negative regulators of apoptosis during prolonged mitotic arrest. Mcl-1 levels decrease during mitotic arrest due to an imbalance between synthesis and turnover, and turnover depends in part on the MULE/HUWE1 E3 ligase. The combination of Mcl-1 loss with inhibition of Bcl-xL by Navitoclax causes rapid apoptosis in all lines tested. Variation in expression levels of Mcl-1 and Bcl-xL largely determine variation in response to anti-mitotics alone, and anti-mitotics combined with Navitoclax, across our panel. We conclude that Bcl-xL is a critical target of Bcl-2 family inhibitors for enhancing the lethality of anti-mitotic drugs in epithelial cancers, and combination treatment with Navitoclax and a spindle specific anti-mitotic, such as a Kinesin-5 inhibitor, might be more effective than paclitaxel alone.
Navitoclax; paclitaxel; apoptosis response
When the cell cycle is arrested, even though growth-promoting pathways such as mTOR are still active, then cells senesce. For example, induction of either p21 or p16 arrests the cell cycle without inhibiting mTOR, which, in turn, converts p21/p16-induced arrest into senescence (geroconversion). Here we show that geroconversion is accompanied by dramatic accumulation of cyclin D1 followed by cyclin E and replicative stress. When p21 was switched off, senescent cells (despite their loss of proliferative potential) progressed through S phase, and levels of cyclins D1 and E dropped. Most cells entered mitosis and then died, either during mitotic arrest or after mitotic slippage, or underwent endoreduplication. Next, we investigated whether inhibition of mTOR would prevent accumulation of cyclins and loss of mitotic competence in p21-arrested cells. Both nutlin-3, which inhibits mTOR in these cells, and rapamycin suppressed geroconversion during p21-induced arrest, decelerated accumulation of cyclins D1 and E and decreased replicative stress. When p21 was switched off, cells successfully progressed through both S phase and mitosis. Also, senescent mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) overexpressed cyclin D1. After release from cell cycle arrest, senescent MEFs entered S phase but could not undergo mitosis and did not proliferate. We conclude that cellular senescence is characterized by futile hyper-mitogenic drive associated with mTOR-dependent mitotic incompetence.
MTOR; rapamycin; aging; cyclins; cell cycle; regenerative/proliferative potential
Poly(ADP)ribose polymerase (PARP) inhibitors modify the enzymatic activity of PARP1/2. When certain PARP inhibitors are used either alone or in combination with DNA damage agents they may cause a G2/M mitotic arrest and/or apoptosis in a susceptible genetic context. PARP1 interacts with the cell cycle checkpoint proteins Ataxia Telangectasia Mutated (ATM) and ATM and Rad3-related (ATR) and therefore may influence growth arrest cascades. The PARP inhibitor PJ34 causes a mitotic arrest by an unknown mechanism in certain cell lines, therefore we asked whether PJ34 conditionally activated the checkpoint pathways and which downstream targets were necessary for mitotic arrest. We found that PJ34 produced a concentration dependent G2/M mitotic arrest and differentially affected cell survival in cells with diverse genetic backgrounds. p53 was activated and phosphorylated at Serine15 followed by p21 gene activation through both p53-dependent and -independent pathways. The mitotic arrest was caffeine sensitive and UCN01 insensitive and did not absolutely require p53, ATM or Chk1, while p21 was necessary for maintaining the growth arrest. Significantly, by using stable knockdown cell lines, we found that neither PARP1 nor PARP2 were required for any of these effects produced by PJ34. These results raise questions and cautions for evaluating PARP inhibitor effectiveness, suggesting that not only should effects on PARP’s diverse ADP-ribosylation independent protein interactions be considered, but also effects on homologous proteins that may be producing either overlapping or distinct effects.
poly(ADP)-ribose polymerase; PARP inhibitors; p21; breast cancer; cell cycle checkpoint
ETOC: Despite the use of antimitotic drugs, our understanding of the stress response, especially during mitotic arrest, is lacking. We report a molecular mechanism resulting in DNA damage during mitotic arrest that occurs via the apoptotic machinery but in the absence of cell death; this mechanism triggers p53 induction after cells slip from mitotic arrest.
Mitotic arrest induced by antimitotic drugs can cause apoptosis or p53-dependent cell cycle arrest. It can also cause DNA damage, but the relationship between these events has been unclear. Live, single-cell imaging in human cancer cells responding to an antimitotic kinesin-5 inhibitor and additional antimitotic drugs revealed strong induction of p53 after cells slipped from prolonged mitotic arrest into G1. We investigated the cause of this induction. We detected DNA damage late in mitotic arrest and also after slippage. This damage was inhibited by treatment with caspase inhibitors and by stable expression of mutant, noncleavable inhibitor of caspase-activated DNase, which prevents activation of the apoptosis-associated nuclease caspase-activated DNase (CAD). These treatments also inhibited induction of p53 after slippage from prolonged arrest. DNA damage was not due to full apoptosis, since most cytochrome C was still sequestered in mitochondria when damage occurred. We conclude that prolonged mitotic arrest partially activates the apoptotic pathway. This partly activates CAD, causing limited DNA damage and p53 induction after slippage. Increased DNA damage via caspases and CAD may be an important aspect of antimitotic drug action. More speculatively, partial activation of CAD may explain the DNA-damaging effects of diverse cellular stresses that do not immediately trigger apoptosis.
A375 human malignant melanoma cells undergo mitotic arrest-associated apoptosis when treated with pharmacological concentrations of sodium arsenite, a chemotherapeutic for acute promyelocytic leukemia. Our previous studies indicated that decreased arsenite sensitivity correlated with reduced mitotic spindle checkpoint function and reduced expression of the checkpoint protein BUBR1. In the current study, arsenite induced securin and cyclin B stabilization, BUBR1 phosphorylation, and spindle checkpoint activation. Arsenite also increased activating cyclin dependent kinase 1 (CDK1) Thr161 phosphorylation but decreased inhibitory Tyr15 phosphorylation. Mitotic arrest resulted in apoptosis as indicated by colocalization of mitotic phospho-Histone H3 with active caspase 3. Apoptosis was associated with BCL-2 Ser70 phosphorylation. Inhibition of CDK1 with roscovitine in arsenite-treated mitotic cells inhibited spindle checkpoint maintenance as inferred from reduced BUBR1 phosphorylation, reduced cyclin B expression, and diminution of mitotic index. Roscovitine also reduced BCL-2 Ser70 phosphorylation and protected against apoptosis, suggesting mitotic arrest caused by hyperactivation of CDK1 directly or indirectly leads to BCL-2 phosphorylation and apoptosis. In addition, suppression of BUBR1 with siRNA prevented arsenite-induced mitotic arrest and apoptosis. These findings provide insight into the mechanism of arsenic’s chemotherapeutic action and indicate a functional spindle checkpoint may be required for arsenic-sensitivity.
Arsenite; mitotic arrest; apoptosis; spindle checkpoint