The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) exerts neuroprotective effects under hypoxic or ischemic conditions. To explore whether mTOR participates in neuroprotective signaling through regulation of hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and neuronal apoptosis in developing rat brain with hypoxia-ischemia (HI), we operated on postnatal day 10 rats by ligating the common carotid artery followed by exposure to systemic hypoxia. Brains were collected at various intervals to detect the expression of mTOR, phosphorylated mTOR (p-mTOR), HIF-1α, VEGF and cleaved caspase 3 (CC3), using immunohistochemistry and Western blot analysis. We also used terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP-nick end labeling (TUNEL) to detect neuronal apoptosis. The p-mTOR protein expression increased at 2 h after HI, peaked at 8 h, lasted 24 h, and then dropped to the basal level. Also, the expression of HIF-1α and VEGF was significantly enhanced and peaked at 8 h after HI. Up-regulated expression of CC3 was observed at 2 h, peaked at 24 h, and lasted 72 h after HI. Increased neuronal apoptosis is associated with reduced HIF-1α and VEGF expression. Furthermore, pretreatment with rapamycin, a mTOR specific inhibitor, significantly inhibited HIF-1α and VEGF protein after HI. The expression of CC3 and the number of TUNEL-positive cells were up-regulated at 8 h and down-regulated at 24 h after HI in the rapamycin-treated group. Our findings suggest that mTOR may participate in the regulation of HIF-1α, VEGF and neuronal apoptosis, serving neuroprotective functions after HI in developing rat brain.
hypoxia-ischemia; mammalian target of rapamycin; hypoxia-inducible factor-1α; vascular endothelial growth factor; apoptosis
The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a critical regulator of many fundamental features in response to upstream cellular signals, such as growth factors, energy, stress and nutrients, controlling cell growth, proliferation and metabolism through two complexes, mTORC1 and mTORC2. Dysregulation of mTOR signalling often occurs in a variety of human malignant diseases making it a crucial and validated target in the treatment of cancer. Tumour cells have shown high susceptibility to mTOR inhibitors. Rapamycin and its derivatives (rapalogs) have been tested in clinical trials in several tumour types and found to be effective as anticancer agents in patients with advanced cancers. To block mTOR function, they form a complex with FKBP12 and then bind the FRB domain of mTOR. Furthermore, a new generation of mTOR inhibitors targeting ATP-binding in the catalytic site of mTOR showed potent and more selective inhibition. More recently, microRNAs (miRNA) have emerged as modulators of biological pathways that are essential in cancer initiation, development and progression. Evidence collected to date shows that miRNAs may function as tumour suppressors or oncogenes in several human neoplasms. The mTOR pathway is a promising target by miRNAs for anticancer therapy. Extensive studies have indicated that regulation of the mTOR pathway by miRNAs plays a major role in cancer progression, indicating a novel way to investigate the tumorigenesis and therapy of cancer. Here, we summarize current findings of the role of mTOR inhibitors and miRNAs in carcinogenesis through targeting mTOR signalling pathways and determine their potential as novel anti-cancer therapeutics.
mTOR; Akt; S6K; Rapamycin; cancer; therapy; miRNA
This study was designed to clarify the mechanism of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR)-hypoxia inducible factor-1 (HIF-1) pathway using the cultured cell strain derived from human ovarian clear cell adenocarcinoma (CCA). Everolimus (a derivative of rapamycin)-treated cells and non-treated cells did not show any difference in mTOR expression. But, phosphorylated-mTOR (p-mTOR) expression significantly decreased in the treated cells, and mTOR-related factors such as phosphorylated-4E-BP1 (p-4E-BP1), HIF-1α, and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in the downstream region of mTOR revealed a marked decrease in expression. The analysis of influences of the drug on the HIF-1α degradation system showed an increase in von-Hippel Lindau (VHL) expression in the treated cells. Increase of cleaved caspase-3, one of key factors involved in apoptosis, was also shown in the treated cells. In the next step, using nude mice implanted with RMG-1 cells, a decrease in tumor size was demonstrated in 4 of the 7 mice which were orally administered with everolimus. As a result, it was suggested that everolimus administration would be helpful as an anti-tumor therapy for CCA not only via down-regulation of p-mTOR but also degradation of HIF-1α by VHL and induction of apoptosis by cleaved caspase-3.
ovary; clear cell carcinoma; mTOR; anti-cancer therapy; rapamycin
Despite recent advances in cancer therapies, metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC) remains difficult to treat. Most RCCs result from inactivation of the von Hippel Lindau (VHL) tumor suppressor, leading to stable expression of Hypoxia-Inducible Factor-α (HIF-1α, -2α, -3α) and the induction of downstream target genes, including those responsible for angiogenesis and metastasis. While VHL is inactivated in the majority of RCC cases, expression of the PTEN tumor suppressor is reduced in about 30% of cases. PTEN functions to antagonize PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling, thereby controlling cell growth and survival. Activation of PI3K/Akt/mTOR leads to increased HIF-1α expression in certain cancer cells, supporting the rationale of using mTOR inhibitors as anti-cancer agents. Notably, HIF-2α, rather than HIF-1α, has been shown to play a critical role in renal tumorigenesis. To investigate whether HIF-2α is similarly regulated by the PI3K pathway in VHL−/− RCC cells, we manipulated PI3K signaling using PTEN overexpression and siRNA knockdown studies and pharmacologic inhibition of PI3K or Akt. Our data support a novel role for wild-type PTEN in promoting HIF-2α activity in VHL null RCC cells. This mechanism is unique to the cellular environment in which HIF-2α expression is deregulated, resulting from the loss of VHL function. Our data show that PTEN induces HIF-2α transcriptional activity by inhibiting expression of Yin Yang 1 (YY1), which acts as a novel corepressor of HIF-2α. Further, PTEN suppression of YY1 is mediated through antagonism of PI3K signaling. We conclude that wild-type PTEN relieves the repressive nature of YY1 at certain HIF-2α target promoters and that this mechanism may promote early renal tumorigenesis resulting from VHL inactivation by increasing HIF-2α activity.
PTEN; YY1; VHL; HIF-2α; renal cell carcinoma; MT1-MMP
The protein kinase mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin) is a critical regulator of cellular metabolism, growth, and proliferation. These processes contribute to tumor formation, and many cancers are characterized by aberrant activation of mTOR. Although activating mutations in mTOR itself have not been identified, deregulation of upstream components that regulate mTOR are prevalent in cancer. The prototypic mechanism of mTOR regulation in cells is through activation of the PI3K/Akt pathway, but mTOR receives input from multiple signaling pathways. This review will discuss Akt-dependent and independent mechanisms of mTOR regulation in response to mitogenic signals, as well as its regulation in response to energy and nutrient-sensing pathways. Preclinical and clinical studies have demonstrated that tumors bearing genetic alterations that activate mTOR are sensitive to pharmacologic inhibition of mTOR. Elucidation of novel pathways that regulate mTOR may help identify predictive factors for sensitivity to mTOR inhibitors and could provide new therapeutic targets for inhibiting the mTOR pathway in cancer. This review will also highlight pharmacologic approaches that inhibit mTOR via activation of the AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), an important inhibitor of the mTOR pathway and an emerging target in cancer.
mTOR; cancer; Akt; AMPK
Down regulation by siRNA or absence of Hypoxic Inducible Factor (HIF-1α) has been shown to lead to increased sensitivity to glycolytic inhibitors in hypoxic tumor cells. In surveying a number of tumor types for differences in intrinsic levels of HIF under hypoxia we find that the reduction of the upstream pathways of HIF, AKT and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) correlate with increased toxic effects of 2-DG in lung cancer cell lines when treated under hypoxia. Since HIF-1α translation is regulated by the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), we examined the effects of blocking mTOR under hypoxia with an analog of rapamycin (CCI-779) in those cell lines that showed increased mTOR and AKT activity and found that HIF-1α down-regulation coincided with increased 2-DG killing. CCI-779 however was ineffective in increasing 2-DG toxicity in cell lines that do not express HIF. This result supports the hypothesis that although mTOR inhibition leads to blockage of numerous downstream targets, CCI-779 increases the toxicity of 2-DG in hypoxic cells through down-regulation of HIF-1α. Overall, our findings show that CCI-779 hyper-sensitizes hypoxic tumor cells to 2-DG and suggest that the intrinsic expression of AKT, mTOR, and HIF in lung cancer, as well as other tumor types, may be important in dictating the decision on how best to use 2-DG alone or in combination with CCI-799 to kill hypoxic tumor cells clinically.
Accumulating lines of experimental evidence have revealed that hypoxia-inducible factors, HIF-1α and HIF-2α, are key regulators of the adaptation of cancer- and metastasis-initiating cells and their differentiated progenies to oxygen and nutrient deprivation during cancer progression under normoxic and hypoxic conditions. Particularly, the sustained stimulation of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor (IGF-1R), stem cell factor (SCF) receptor KIT, transforming growth factor-β receptors (TGF-βRs) and Notch and their downstream signalling elements such as phosphatidylinositol 3′-kinase (PI3K)/Akt/molecular target of rapamycin (mTOR) may lead to an enhanced activity of HIFs. Moreover, the up-regulation of HIFs in cancer cells may also occur in the hypoxic intratumoral regions formed within primary and secondary neoplasms as well as in leukaemic cells and metastatic prostate and breast cancer cells homing in the hypoxic endosteal niche of bone marrow. The activated HIFs may induce the expression of numerous gene products such as induced pluripotency-associated transcription factors (Oct-3/4, Nanog and Sox-2), glycolysis- and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) programme-associated molecules, including CXC chemokine receptor 4 (CXCR4), snail and twist, microRNAs and angiogenic factors such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). These gene products in turn can play critical roles for high self-renewal ability, survival, altered energy metabolism, invasion and metastases of cancer cells, angiogenic switch and treatment resistance. Consequently, the targeting of HIF signalling network and altered metabolic pathways represents new promising strategies to eradicate the total mass of cancer cells and improve the efficacy of current therapies against aggressive and metastatic cancers and prevent disease relapse.
Hypoxia; Hypoxia-inducible factors; Metabolic pathways; Cancer progression; Metastases; Cancer stem/progenitor cells; Cancer-initiating cells; Metastasis-initiating cells; Targeted therapies
Hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1) is a heterodimeric transcription factor containing an inducibly expressed HIF-1α subunit and a constititutively expressed HIF-1β subunit. Under hypoxic conditions, the HIF-1α subunit accumulates due to a decrease in the rate of proteolytic degradation, and the resulting HIF-1α-HIF-1β heterodimers undergo posttranslational modifications that promote transactivation. Recent studies suggest that amplified signaling through phosphoinositide 3-kinase, and its downstream target, mTOR, enhances HIF-1-dependent gene expression in certain cell types. In the present study, we have explored further the linkage between mTOR and HIF-1 in PC-3 prostate cancer cells treated with hypoxia or the hypoxia mimetic agent, CoCl2. Pretreatment of PC-3 cells with the mTOR inhibitor, rapamycin, inhibited both the accumulation of HIF-1α and HIF-1-dependent transcription induced by hypoxia or CoCl2. Transfection of these cells with wild-type mTOR enhanced HIF-1 activation by hypoxia or CoCl2, while expression of a rapamycin-resistant mTOR mutant rendered both HIF-1α stabilization and HIF-1 transactivating function refractory to inhibition by rapamycin. Studies with GAL4-HIF-1α fusion proteins pinpointed the oxygen-dependent degradation domain as a critical target for the rapamycin-sensitive, mTOR-dependent signaling pathway leading to HIF-1α stabilization by CoCl2. These studies position mTOR as an upstream activator of HIF-1 function in cancer cells and suggest that the antitumor activity of rapamycin is mediated, in part, through the inhibition of cellular responses to hypoxic stress.
Oxygen deprivation, or hypoxia, has profound effects on cell metabolism and growth. Cells can adapt to low O2 in part through activation of hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF). We report here that hypoxia inhibits mRNA translation by suppressing multiple key regulators including eIF2α, eEF2, and the mTOR effectors 4EBP1, p70S6K, and rpS6, independent of HIF. Hypoxia results in energy starvation and activation of the AMPK/TSC2/Rheb/mTOR pathway. Hypoxic AMPK activation also leads to eEF2 inhibition. Moreover, hypoxic effects on cellular bioenergetics and mTOR inhibition increase over time. Mutation of the TSC2 tumor suppressor gene confers a growth advantage to cells by repressing hypoxic mTOR inhibition and hypoxia-induced G1 arrest. Together, eIF2α, eEF2 and mTOR inhibition represent important HIF-independent mechanisms of energy conservation which promote survival under low O2 conditions.
Hypoxia; mTOR; eIF2; eEF2; AMPK; TSC2; Rheb
The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) and its associated cell signaling pathways have garnered significant attention for their roles in cell biology and oncology. Interestingly,the explosion of information in this field has linked mTOR to neurological diseases with promising initial studies. mTOR, a 289 kDa serine/threonine protein kinase, plays an important role in cell growth and proliferation and is activated through phosphorylation in response to growth factors, mitogens and hormones. Growth factors, amino acids, cellular nutrients and oxygen deficiency can downregulate mTOR activity. The function of mTOR signaling is mediated primarily through two mTOR complexes: mTORC1 and mTORC2. mTORC1 initiates cap-dependent protein translation, a rate-limiting step of protein synthesis, through the phosphorylation of the targets eukaryotic initiation factor 4E-binding protein 1 (4EBP1) and p70 ribosomal S6 kinase (p70S6K). In contrast, mTORC2 regulates development of the cytoskeleton and also controls cell survival. Although closely tied to tumorigenesis, mTOR and the downstream signaling pathways are significantly involved in the central nervous system (CNS) with synaptic plasticity, memory retention, neuroendocrine regulation associated with food intake and puberty and modulation of neuronal repair following injury. The signaling pathways of mTOR also are believed to be a significant component in a number of neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer disease, Parkinson disease and Huntington disease, tuberous sclerosis, neurofibromatosis, fragile X syndrome, epilepsy, traumatic brain injury and ischemic stroke. Here we describe the role of mTOR in the CNS and illustrate the potential for new strategies directed against neurological disorders.
Hemangiomas are tumors formed by hyper-proliferation of vascular endothelial cells. This is caused by elevated vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) signaling through VEGF receptor 2 (VEGFR2). Here we show that elevated VEGF levels produced by hemangioma endothelial cells are reduced by the mTOR inhibitor rapamycin. mTOR activates p70S6K, which controls translation of mRNA to generate proteins such as hypoxia inducible factor-1 (HIF-1). VEGF is a known HIF-1 target gene, and our data show that VEGF levels in hemangioma endothelial cells are reduced by HIF-1α siRNA. Over-expression of HIF-1α increases VEGF levels and endothelial cell proliferation. Furthermore, both rapamycin and HIF-1α siRNA reduce proliferation of hemangioma endothelial cells. These data suggest that mTOR and HIF-1 contribute to hemangioma endothelial cell proliferation by stimulating an autocrine loop of VEGF signaling. Furthermore, mTOR and HIF-1 may be therapeutic targets for the treatment of hemangiomas.
Aim: L-type amino acid transporter 1 (LAT1) is known to be highly expressed in
various human neoplasms. However, little is known about how LAT1 is associated
with glucose metabolism, hypoxia and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR)
signaling pathway in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The aim of this study
is to evaluate the relationship between LAT1 expression, and hypoxic marker and
mTOR pathway in resected NSCLC. Methods: One hundred and sixty patients were
included in this study. Tumors sections were stained by immunohistochemistry for
LAT1, glucose transporter 1 (Glut1), hypoxia inducible factor-1α
(HIF-1α), hexokinase I, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF),
microvessel density (MVD) by determinate by CD34, epidermal growth factor
receptor (EGFR), Phosphatase and tensin analog (PTEN), phosph-Akt, phosph-mTOR
and phosph-S6K. Results: A positive LAT1 and CD98 expression were recognized in
36.8% (59/160) and 33.7% (54/160), respectively (p=0.640). LAT1
expression was significantly associated with CD98, hypoxic markers (Glut1,
HIF-1α, hexokinase I, VEGF and CD34) and mTOR pathway (EGFR, a loss of
PTEN, p-mTOR and p-S6K), especially in lung adenocarcinoma (AC). The expression
profile of these biomarkers was significantly higher in non-AC than in AC, but
almost these biomarkers were equally expressed between AC (n=16) and
non-AC (n=43) patients with a positive LAT1 expression. Overexpression of
LAT1 was closely associated with poor outcome in patient with AC. Conclusion:
LAT1 expression is closely correlated with hypoxic markers and mTOR pathway in
patients with resected NSCLC.
LAT1; hypoxia; mTOR; glucose transporter; NSCLC
Novel therapeutics such as inhibitors of PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway presents a unique opportunity for the management of diabetic retinopathy (DR). Second generation mTOR inhibitors have the prospect to be efficacious in managing various stages of disease progression in DR. During early stages, the mTOR inhibitors suppress HIF-1α, VEGF, leakage, and breakdown of the blood-retinal barrier. These mTOR inhibitors impart a pronounced inhibitory effect on inflammation, an early component with diverse ramifications influencing the progression of DR. These inhibitors suppress IKK and NF-κB along with downstream inflammatory cytokines, chemokines, and adhesion molecules. In proliferative DR, mTOR inhibitors suppress several growth factors that play pivotal roles in the induction of pathological angiogenesis. Lead mTOR inhibitors in clinical trials for ocular indications present an attractive treatment option for chronic use in DR with favorable safety profile and sustained ocular pharmacokinetics following single dose. Thereby, reducing dosing frequency and risk associated with chronic drug administration.
The target of rapamycin (TOR) is a highly conserved serine/threonine kinase that controls cell growth and metabolism in response to nutrients, growth factors, cellular energy, and stress. The TOR kinase, which was originally discovered in yeast, is also expressed in human cells as mammalian TOR (mTOR). In this review, we focus on how mTOR-inducible signals function in cell protection and cell survival of effector and regulatory T cells as well as its role in endothelial cell biology. We evaluate how signaling is important for vascular endothelial cell growth, survival, and proliferation; and we consider how the function of mTOR in endothelial cells may be clinically important in the rejection process. Understanding the biology of mTOR allows clinicians to use mTOR inhibitors optimally as therapeutics following solid organ transplantation.
This review discusses the role of the mammalian target of rapamycin pathway in leukemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma, and Waldenström's macroglobulinemia and presents results from recent studies on the use of mammalian target of rapamycin–targeted agents in these diseases.
The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is an intracellular serine/threonine kinase that exists as a downstream component of numerous signaling pathways. The activation of mTOR results in the production of proteins involved in cell metabolism, growth, proliferation, and angiogenesis. Aberrant activation of mTOR signaling has been identified in a number of cancers, and targeted inhibition of mTOR has been successful in achieving tumor responses, prolonging progression-free survival, and increasing overall survival in various oncologic patient populations. In particular, persistent activation of mTOR signaling has been identified in cell lines and patient samples with leukemias, Hodgkin's lymphoma (HL), non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL), multiple myeloma (MM), and Waldenström's macroglobulinemia (WM). In vitro and preclinical studies using agents that inhibit mTOR signaling have demonstrated cytostatic and cytotoxic effects in these hematologic malignancies, suggesting that mTOR is a rational target for therapy in these disease states. In addition, the combination of mTOR inhibitors with traditional therapies may help to overcome the development of resistance and may improve response rates over those seen with established regimens through synergistic or additive effects. Inhibitors of mTOR signaling currently are being investigated in clinical trials of hematologic malignancies as single agents and as components of combination regimens. Thus far, promising results have been seen with the application of mTOR inhibitors as single agents in patients with relapsed or refractory leukemia, HL, NHL, MM, and WM.
Hematologic malignancy; Leukemia; Lymphoma; Mammalian target of rapamycin; Multiple myeloma; Waldenström macroglobulinemia
The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is an evolutionarily conserved serine/threonine kinase and the founding member of a signaling pathway that regulates many fundamental features of cell growth and division. In cells, mTOR acts as the catalytic subunit of two functionally distinct complexes, called mTOR Complex 1 (mTORC1) and mTOR Complex 2 (mTORC2). Together, these complexes coordinate a variety of processes that include protein translation, autophagy, proliferation, survival and metabolism in response to nutrient, energy and growth factor signals. Consistent with its role as a growth-promoting pathway, numerous studies have found that Mtor signaling is hyper-activated in a broad spectrum of human cancers. In particular, mTORC2 is considered a primary effector of the phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K) signaling pathway, which is mutated in a majority of human cancers, in part through its ability to phosphorylate and regulate the proto-oncogene Akt/PKB. Many biological functions of mTOR have been pharmacologically explored using the natural product rapamycin, an allosteric inhibitor that has been reviewed extensively elsewhere. This review will focus specifically on the development of small molecule ATP-competitive inhibitors of mTOR and their prospects as a targeted therapy.
mTOR; PI3K; Cancer
The tuberous sclerosis tumor suppressors TSC1 and TSC2 regulate the mTOR pathway to control translation and cell growth in response to nutrient and growth factor stimuli. We have recently identified the stress response REDD1 gene as a mediator of tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC)-dependent mTOR regulation by hypoxia. Here, we demonstrate that REDD1 inhibits mTOR function to control cell growth in response to energy stress. Endogenous REDD1 is induced following energy stress, and REDD1−/− cells are highly defective in dephosphorylation of the key mTOR substrates S6K and 4E-BP1 following either ATP depletion or direct activation of the AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). REDD1 likely acts on the TSC1/2 complex, as regulation of mTOR substrate phosphorylation by REDD1 requires TSC2 and is blocked by overexpression of the TSC1/2 downstream target Rheb but is not blocked by inhibition of AMPK. Tetracycline-inducible expression of REDD1 triggers rapid dephosphorylation of S6K and 4E-BP1 and significantly decreases cellular size. Conversely, inhibition of endogenous REDD1 by short interfering RNA increases cell size in a rapamycin-sensitive manner, and REDD1−/− cells are defective in cell growth regulation following ATP depletion. These results define REDD1 as a critical transducer of the cellular response to energy depletion through the TSC-mTOR pathway.
The phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/AKT/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway is activated in the majority of human cancers. This pathway is known to play a key role in numerous cellular functions including proliferation, adhesion, migration, invasion, metabolism, and survival, but in the current review we focus on its role in angiogenesis. PI3K activation may occur via RAS mutation, loss of phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN), or by increased expression of growth factor receptors such as epidermal growth factor receptor. There is a connection between the PI3K pathway and angiogenesis. Hypoxia leads to HIF-1α stabilization and is a major stimulus for increased vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) production by tumor cells. However, activation of the PI3K/AKT pathway in tumor cells can also increase VEGF secretion, both by hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1) dependent and independent mechanisms. The PI3K/AKT pathway also modulates the expression of other angiogenic factors such as nitric oxide and angiopoietins. Numerous inhibitors targeting the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway have been developed, and these agents have been shown to decrease VEGF secretion and angiogenesis. The effect of these inhibitors on tumor vasculature can be difficult to predict. The vasculature of tumors is aberrant, leading to sluggish bloodflow and elevated interstitial blood pressure, which can be perpetuated by the high levels of VEGF. Hence, decreasing VEGF expression can paradoxically lead to vascular normalization and improved bloodflow in some tumors. In addition to its importance in cancer, the PI3K pathway also plays an essential role in the formation of normal blood vessels during development. Embryos with kinase-dead p110α catalytic subunit of PI3K develop vascular defects. Stimulation of endothelial cells by VEGF leads to activation of the PI3K pathway within these cells, which is important for cell migration. Sustained endothelial activation of AKT1 has been shown to induce the formation of structurally abnormal blood vessels that recapitulate the aberrations of tumor vessels. Hence, the PI3K pathway plays an important role in regulating angiogenesis both in normal tissues and in cancers.
angiogenesis; PI3K/AKT/mTOR; VEGF; nitric oxide; angiopoietins
Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), a significant cause of cancer deaths worldwide, has multiple stepwise malignant evolutions. Mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) plays a critical role in tumor development, invasion, metastasis and angiogenesis that impact local recurrence and survival. mTOR can also act as a biomarker for personalized adjuvant therapy. In in vivo and in vitro studies, mTOR inhibitor suppresses tumor growth and sensitizes HNSCC to radiation, cytotoxic agents and epidermoid growth factor receptor inhibitors. We have reviewed the pathogenesis of HNSCC, mTOR pathway, mTOR inhibitor and the role of mTOR in HNSCC.
The basic biology underlying the development of clear-cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) is critically dependent on the von Hippel–Lindau gene (VHL), whose protein product is important in the cell’s normal response to hypoxia. Aberrations in VHL’s function, either through mutation or promoter hypermethylation, lead to accumulation of the transcriptional regulatory molecule, hypoxia-inducible factor alpha (HIFα). HIFα can then dimerize with HIFβ and translocate to the nucleus, where it will transcriptionally upregulate a series of hypoxia-responsive genes, including vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), and others. Binding of these ligands to their cognate receptors activates a series of kinase–dependent signaling pathways, including the RAF–MEK–ERK and phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase–AKT–mTOR pathways. Targeted agents developed and now approved for use in advanced ccRCC include humanized monoclonal antibodies against VEGF, small-molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitors, and inhibitors of mTOR. Understanding the biology of ccRCC is critical in understanding the current therapy for the disease and in developing novel therapeutics in the future. This review will provide an overview of the genetics of ccRCC, with an emphasis on how this has informed the development of the targeted therapeutics for this disease.
clear-cell renal cell carcinoma; targeted therapy; tyrosine kinase inhibitor; von Hippel; Lindau
The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a serine/threonine kinase that regulates cell growth and metabolism in response to diverse external stimuli. In the presence of mitogenic stimuli, mTOR transduces signals that activate the translational machinery and promote cell growth. mTOR functions as a central node in a complex net of signaling pathways that are involved both in normal physiological, as well as pathogenic events. mTOR signaling occurs in concert with upstream Akt and tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) and several downstream effectors. During the past few decades, the mTOR-mediated pathway has been shown to promote tumorigenesis through the coordinated phosphorylation of proteins that directly regulate cell-cycle progression and metabolism, as well as transcription factors that regulate the expression of genes involved in the oncogenic processes. The importance of mTOR signaling in oncology is now widely accepted, and agents that selectively target mTOR have been developed as anti-cancer drugs. In this review, we highlight the past research on mTOR, including clinical and pathological analyses, and describe its molecular mechanisms of signaling, and its roles in the physiology and pathology of human diseases, particularly, lung carcinomas. We also discuss strategies that might lead to more effective clinical treatments of several diseases by targeting mTOR.
mTOR; rapamycin; lung cancer; molecular targeting therapy
Communication between the vasculature and nervous system is important during embryogenesis but the molecular mechanisms mediating this are ill-defined. We evaluated the molecular mechanisms by which Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) and Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) regulate VEGF production. NGF activation of TrkA causes a marked increase in VEGF secretion by neuronal cells. The NGF induced increase in VEGF is accompanied by an increase in HIF-1α. Pharmacologic inhibitors of the Trk tyrosine kinase, PI-3 kinase and mTOR paths prevent NGF stimulated increases in HIF-1α and VEGF. NGF induced increase in VEGF transcription is dependent on a hypoxia response element (HRE) in the VEGF promoter. Mutation of the HRE or siRNA mediated silencing of HIF-1α expression blocks NGF induced increases in VEGF transcription. In primary cultures of TrkA expressing neurons from dorsal root ganglion, NGF induces VEGF expression that is accompanied by increases in HIF-1α but not HIF-2α expression. In CGN neurons, BDNF induces VEGF that is dependent on induction of HIF-1α. Our study indicates that neurotrophin activation of Trk stimulates an increase in VEGF transcription that is mediated by induction of HIF-1α.
NGF/TrkA; BDNF/TrkB; VEGF; HIF-1α; dorsal root ganglion neurons; cerebellar granule neurons; neuroblastoma
The AKT family of serine threonine kinases is of critical importance with regard to growth factor signaling, cell proliferation, survival and oncogenesis. Engagement of signaling receptors induces the lipid kinase, phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K), which enables the activation of AKT. Responsive to the PI3K/AKT pathway is the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), a major effector that is specifically implicated in the regulation of cell growth as a result of nutrient availability and cellular bioenergetics. These kinases mediate the activity of a multitude of intracellular signaling molecules and intersect with multiple pathways that regulate cellular processes. Elucidating the role of AKT/mTOR in metabolism and in hallmark signaling pathways that are aberrantly affected in cancer has provided a solid foundation of discoveries. From this, new research directions are emerging with regard to the role of AKT/mTOR in diabetes and T cell-mediated immunity. As a result, a new perspective is developing in how AKT/mTOR functions within intracellular signaling pathways to maintain cellular homeostasis. An appreciation is emerging that altered equilibrium of AKT/mTOR pathways contributes to disease and malignancy. Such new insights may lead to novel intervention strategies that may be useful to reprogram or reset the balance of intracellular signaling.
Signal transduction; growth factor signaling; tumor progression; metabolism; molecular targeted inhibition.
The protein kinase mTOR is the central player within a pathway, which is known to be involved in the regulation of e.g., cell size, cell cycle, apoptosis, autophagy, aging and differentiation. mTOR activity responds to many signals, including cellular stress, oxygen, nutrient availability, energy status and growth factors. Deregulation of this enzyme is causatively involved in the molecular development of monogenic human diseases, cancer, obesity, type 2 diabetes or neurodegeneration. Recently, mTOR has also been demonstrated to control stem cell homeostasis. A more detailed investigation of this new mTOR function will be of highest relevance to provide more explicit insights into stem cell regulation in the near future. Different cellular tools, including adult stem cells, embryonic stem cells or induced pluripotent stem cells could be used to investigate the role of mTOR in mammalian stem cell biology. Here we discuss the potential of amniotic fluid stem cells to become a promising cellular model to study the role of signaling cascades in stem cell homeostasis.
stem cell; amniotic fluid; differentiation; RNA interference; mTOR
Our ongoing research has revealed that total saponins extracted from the medicinal herb Radix Astragali (AST) exhibits significant growth-inhibitory and proapoptotic effects in human cancer cells. In the present study, the potential of AST in controlling angiogenesis was further investigated with elaboration of the underlying molecular mechanism in human colon cancer cell and tumor xenograft.
AST decreased the protein level of VEGF and bFGF in HCT 116 colon cancer cells in a time- and dose-dependent manner. Among the Akt/mTOR signal transduction molecules being examined, AST caused PTEN upregulation, reduction in Akt phosphorylation and subsequent activation of mTOR. AST also suppressed the induction of HIF-1α and VEGF under CoCl2-mimicked hypoxia. These effects were intensified by combined treatment of AST with the mTOR inhibitor rapamycin. Despite this, our data also indicate that AST could attenuate cobalt chloride-evoked COX-2 activation, while such effect on COX-2 and its downstream target VEGF was intensified when indomethacin was concurrently treated. The anti-carcinogenic action of AST was further illustrated in HCT 116 xenografted athymic nude mice. AST significantly suppressed tumor growth and reduced serum VEGF level in vivo. In the tumor tissues excised from AST-treated animals, protein level of p-Akt, p-mTOR, VEGF, VEGFR1 and VEGFR2 was down-regulated. Immunohistochemistry has also revealed that AST effectively reduced the level of COX-2 in tumor sections when compared with that in untreated control.
Taken together, these findings suggest that AST exerts anti-carcinogenic activity in colon cancer cells through modulation of mTOR signaling and downregulation of COX-2, which together reduce VEGF level in tumor cells that could potentially suppress angiogenesis.
Astragalus saponins; Hypoxia; VEGF; Akt/mTOR; COX-2; Colon cancer