The phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/AKT/mammalian target of rapamycin (PI3K/AKT/mTOR) pathway promotes melanoma tumor growth and survival while suppressing autophagy, a catabolic process through which cells collect and recycle cellular components to sustain energy homeostasis in starvation. Conversely, inhibitors of the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway, in particular the mTOR inhibitor temsirolimus (CCI-779), induce autophagy, which can promote tumor survival and thus, these agents potentially limit their own efficacy. We hypothesized that inhibition of autophagy in combination with mTOR inhibition would block this tumor survival mechanism and hence improve the cytotoxicity of mTOR inhibitors in melanoma. Here we found that melanoma cell lines of multiple genotypes exhibit high basal levels of autophagy. Knockdown of expression of the essential autophagy gene product ATG7 resulted in cell death, indicating that survival of melanoma cells is autophagy-dependent. We also found that the lysosomotropic agent and autophagy inhibitor hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) synergizes with CCI-779 and led to melanoma cell death via apoptosis. Combination treatment with CCI-779 and HCQ suppressed melanoma growth and induced cell death both in 3-dimensional (3D) spheroid cultures and in tumor xenografts. These data suggest that coordinate inhibition of the mTOR and autophagy pathways promotes apoptosis and could be a new therapeutic paradigm for the treatment of melanoma.
Inhibitors of TORC1 have been shown to be active in patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC). As the PI3-K pathway activates numerous other kinases, transcription factors and proteins associated with cell growth and survival besides mTOR, disruption of this pathway upstream of mTOR may be more effective than inhibition of TORC1 alone.
To investigate this possibility, the dual PI3-K/mTOR inhibitor NVP-BEZ235 was compared with rapamycin in RCC cell lines and xenografts generated from 786-O and A498 cells.
Treatment of RCC cell lines with NVP-BEZ235 in vitro resulted in the nuclear translocation of p27, greater reduction in tumor cell proliferation, and more complete suppression of Akt, Mnk-1, eIF4E, and 4EBP-1 phosphorylation and Cyclin D1 and HIF2α expression than that achieved with rapamycin. The reduction of HIF2α levels correlated with reduced HIF activity as determined by luciferase assay. NVP-BEZ235 induced growth arrest in both the 786-O and A498 xenografts that was associated with inhibition of Akt and S6 phosphorylation as well as the induction of apoptosis and reduction in markers of tumor cell proliferation. In contrast, rapamycin induced only minimal growth retardation.
Dual inhibition of PI3-K/mTOR with NVP-BEZ235 induced growth arrest in RCC cell lines both in vitro and in vivo more effectively than inhibition of TORC1 alone. These results provide the rationale for the clinical assessment of agents such as NVP-BEZ235 in patients with advanced RCC.
Renal Cancer; PI3-Kinase; Akt; mTOR; HIF
The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a Ser/Thr kinase. It plays an evolutionarily conserved role in regulating cell growth, proliferation, survival, and metabolism via different cellular processes. The purpose of this study was to explore the inhibitory effects of CCI-779 (temsirolimus), a specific mTOR inhibitor, on mTOR signaling, and examine the mechanism of cell growth suppression by CCI-779 in Cashmere goat fetal fibroblasts (GFb cells). GFb cells were sensitive to CCI-779 and the survival rate of cells treated with >3.0 μM of CCI-779 was significantly reduced compared with the control (p<0.01). CCI-779 inhibited the phosphorylation of mTOR (at Ser2448) and S6 (at Ser240/244), and the expression of mTOR, p70S6K, and S6. Thus, CCI-779 was toxic to GFb cells, and it induced a dose-dependent decrease in cell proliferation and caused G1/S cell cycle arrest. Taken together, these data show that CCI-779 can inhibit mTOR signaling and proliferation in GFb cells in vitro. Therefore, mTOR is an important regulator for GFb cell growth and proliferation.
Although the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase to Akt to mammalian target of rapamycin (PI3K-Akt-mTOR) pathway promotes survival signaling, inhibitors of PI3K and mTOR induce minimal cell death in PTEN (phosphatase and tensin homolog deleted from chromosome 10 ) mutant glioma. Here, we show that the dual PI3K-mTOR inhibitor PI-103 induces autophagy in a form of glioma that is resistant to therapy. Inhibitors of autophagosome maturation cooperated with PI-103 to induce apoptosis through the mitochondrial pathway, indicating that the cellular self-digestion process of autophagy acted as a survival signal in this setting. Not all inhibitors of mTOR synergized with inhibitors of autophagy. Rapamycin delivered alone induced autophagy, yet cells survived inhibition of autophagosome maturation because of rapamycin-mediated activation of Akt. In contrast, adenosine 5′-triphosphate–competitive inhibitors of mTOR stimulated autophagy more potently than did rapamycin, with inhibition of mTOR complexes 1 and 2 contributing independently to induction of autophagy. We show that combined inhibition of PI3K and mTOR, which activates autophagy without activating Akt, cooperated with inhibition of autophagy to cause glioma cells to undergo apoptosis. Moreover, the PI3K-mTOR inhibitor NVP-BEZ235, which is in clinical use, synergized with the lysosomotropic inhibitor of autophagy, chloroquine, another agent in clinical use, to induce apoptosis in glioma xenografts in vivo, providing a therapeutic approach potentially translatable to humans.
Signaling through phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PtdIns3K)-Akt-mTOR is frequently activated in cancers including glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), where this kinase network regulates survival. It is thus surprising that inhibitors of these pathways induce minimal cell death in glioma. We showed that the dual PtdIns3K-mTOR inhibitor PI-103 induces autophagy in therapy-resistant, PTEN-mutant glioma, with blockade of mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1) and complex 2 (mTORC2) contributing independently to autophagy. Inhibition of autophagosome maturation synergizes with PI-103 to induce apoptosis through the Bax-dependent intrinsic mitochondrial pathway, indicating that PI-103 induces autophagy as a survival pathway in this setting. Not all inhibitors of PtdIns3K-Akt-mTOR signaling synergize with inhibitors of autophagy. The allosteric mTORC1 inhibitor rapamycin fails to induce apoptosis in conjunction with blockade of autophagy, due to feedback-activation of Akt. Apoptosis in the setting of rapamycin therapy requires concurrent inhibition of both autophagy and of PtdIns3K-Akt. Moreover, the clinical PtdIns3K-mTOR inhibitor NVP-BEZ235 cooperates with the clinical lysosomotropic autophagy inhibitor chloroquine to induce apoptosis in PTEN-mutant glioma xenografts in vivo, offering a therapeutic approach translatable to patients.
glioma; signal transduction; PtdIns3K; kinase inhibitors; apoptosis; autophagy; combination therapy
mTOR is a highly conserved serine/threonine protein kinase that serves as a central regulator of cell growth, survival and autophagy. Deregulation of the PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling pathway occurs commonly in cancer and numerous inhibitors targeting the ATP-binding site of these kinases are currently undergoing clinical evaluation. Here we report the characterization of Torin2, a second generation ATP-competitive inhibitor that is potent and selective for mTOR with a superior pharmacokinetic profile to previous inhibitors. Torin2 inhibited mTORC1-dependent T389 phosphorylation on S6K (RPS6KB1) with an EC50 of 250 pM with approximately 800-fold selectivity for cellular mTOR versus PI3K. Torin2 also exhibited potent biochemical and cellular activity against PIKK family kinases including ATM (EC50 28 nM), ATR (EC50 35 nM) and DNA-PK (EC50 118 nM) (PRKDC), the inhibition of which sensitized cells to Irradiation. Similar to the earlier generation compound Torin1 and in contrast to other reported mTOR inhibitors, Torin2 inhibited mTOR kinase and mTORC1 signaling activities in a sustained manner suggestive of a slow dissociation from the kinase. Cancer cell treatment with Torin2 for 24 hours resulted in a prolonged block in negative feedback and consequent T308 phosphorylation on Akt. These effects were associated with strong growth inhibition in vitro. Single agent treatment with Torin2 in vivo did not yield significant efficacy against KRAS-driven lung tumors, but the combination of Torin2 with MEK inhibitor AZD6244 yielded a significant growth inhibition. Taken together, our findings establish Torin2 as a strong candidate for clinical evaluation in a broad number of oncological settings where mTOR signaling has a pathogenic role.
mTOR; ATM; ATR; lung cancer; kinase inhibitors
Patients with mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) have a poor prognosis; consequently, new therapeutic approaches, such as rapamycin and its derivates, mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitors, are warranted. Temsirolimus (also known as CCI-779), a dihydroester of rapamycin, in MCL cell lines inhibited mTOR, downregulated p21 and v-Raf, and induced autophagy. The first clinical trial in MCL patients was performed using 250 mg of temsirolimus weekly for 6–12 cycles. The overall response rate was 38%; the median time to progression was 6.5 months, median overall survival was 12 months, and the median duration of response was 6.9 months. At lower dose (25 mg/week), the overall response rate was 41%, median overall survival was 14 months, and time to progression was 6 months. In another trial, 162 patients were randomly assigned to receive temsirolimus at 2 different doses (175 mg/week for 3 weeks, then 75 mg or 25 mg/week) or a treatment chosen by the investigator among the most frequently adopted single agents for treatment of relapsed MCL. Patients treated with 175/75 mg of temsirolimus had significantly higher response rates and longer progression-free survival than those treated with investigator’s choice therapy. These data support the use of mTOR inhibitors for the treatment of MCL, probably in combination with other agents, such as antiangiogenic drugs or histone acetylase inhibitors.
mTOR rapamycin; PI3K/Akt; p7056K; 4E-BP1
Mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a protein kinase that controls cell growth, proliferation, and survival. mTOR signaling is often upregulated in cancer and there is great interest in developing drugs that target this enzyme. Rapamycin and its analogs bind to a domain separate from the catalytic site to block a subset of mTOR functions. These drugs are extremely selective for mTOR and are already in clinical use for treating cancers, but they could potentially activate an mTOR-dependent survival pathway that could lead to treatment failure. By contrast, small molecules that compete with ATP in the catalytic site would inhibit all of the kinase-dependent functions of mTOR without activating the survival pathway. Several non-selective mTOR kinase inhibitors have been described and here we review their chemical and cellular properties. Further development of selective mTOR kinase inhibitors holds the promise of yielding potent anticancer drugs with a novel mechanism of action.
mTOR; Rictor; Raptor; Rapamycin; Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase; Akt
Autophagy is an evolutionarily conserved process to catabolize cytoplasmic proteins and organelles1, 2. During starvation, the target of rapamycin (TOR), a nutrient-responsive kinase, is inhibited, thereby inducing autophagy. In autophagy, double-membrane autophagosomes envelop and sequester intracellular components and then fuse with lysosomes to form autolysosomes which degrade their contents to regenerate nutrients. Current models of autophagy terminate with the degradation of autophagosome cargo in autolysosomes3-5, but the regulation of autophagy in response to nutrients and the subsequent fate of the autolysosome are poorly defined. Here we show that mTOR signaling is inhibited during autophagy initiation, but reactivated with prolonged starvation. mTOR reactivation is autophagy-dependent, and requires the degradation of autolysosomal products. Increased mTOR activity attenuates autophagy and generates proto-lysosomal tubules and vesicles that extrude from autolysosomes and ultimately mature into functional lysosomes, thereby restoring the full complement of lysosomes in the cell – a process we identify in multiple animal species. Thus, an evolutionarily-conserved cycle in autophagy governs nutrient sensing and lysosome homeostasis during starvation.
The goal of the study is to examine the relationship between the sensor molecules, Hypoxia Inducible Factor-1 (HIF-1), AMP activated Protein Kinase (AMPK) and mammalian Target of Rapamycin (mTOR) in chondrocyte survival and autophagy. We showed that chondrocytes expressed the energy sensor AMPK-1 and that activation increased with maturation. In addition, we showed that thapsigargin treatment activated AMPK and autophagy in a HIF-1 dependent manner. Using serum-starved AMPK-silenced cells, we demonstrated that AMPK was required for the induction of the autophagic response. We also noted a change in chondrocyte sensitivity to apoptogens, due to activation of caspase-8 and cleavage and activation of the pro-apoptotic protein, BID. To test the hypothesis that AMPK signaling directly promoted autophagy, we inhibited AMPK activity in mTOR silenced cells and showed that while mTOR suppression induced autophagy, AMPK inhibition did not block this activity. Based on these findings, it is concluded that due to the micro-environmental changes experienced by the chondrocyte, autophagy is activated by AMPK in a HIF-1 dependent manner.
AMPK; mTOR; HIF-1; autophagy; chondrocyte
In caspase 8-deficient mouse T cells, necroptosis occurs via a Ripk3- and Ripk1-dependent pathway independent of autophagy and programmed necrosis.
Cell populations are regulated in size by at least two forms of apoptosis. More recently, necroptosis, a parallel, nonapoptotic pathway of cell death, has been described, and this pathway is invoked in the absence of caspase 8. In caspase 8–deficient T cells, necroptosis occurs as the result of antigen receptor–mediated activation. Here, through a genetic analysis, we show that necroptosis in caspase 8–deficient T cells is related neither to the programmed necrosis as defined by the requirement for mitochondrial cyclophilin D nor to autophagy as defined by the requirement for autophagy-related protein 7. Rather, survival of caspase 8–defective T cells can be completely rescued by loss of receptor-interacting serine-threonine kinase (Ripk) 3. Additionally, complementation of a T cell–specific caspase 8 deficiency with a loss of Ripk3 gives rise to lymphoproliferative disease reminiscent of lpr or gld mice. In conjunction with previous work, we conclude that necroptosis in antigen-stimulated caspase 8–deficient T cells is the result of a novel Ripk1- and Ripk3-mediated pathway of cell death.
PI3K and mTOR are key components of signal transduction pathways critical for cell survival. Numerous PI3K inhibitors have entered clinical trials, while mTOR is the target of approved drugs for metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC). We characterized expression of p85 and p110α PI3K subunits and mTOR in RCC specimens and assessed pharmacologic co-targeting of these molecules in vitro.
We employed tissue microarrays containing 330 nephrectomy cases using a novel immunofluorescence-based method of Automated Quantitative Analysis (AQUA) of in situ protein expression. In RCC cell lines we assessed synergism between PI3K and mTOR inhibitors and activity of NVP-BEZ235, which co-targets PI3K and mTOR.
p85 expression was associated with high stage and grade (P < 0.0001 for both). High p85 and high mTOR expression were strongly associated with decreased survival, and high p85 was independently prognostic on multi-variable analysis. Strong co-expression of both PI3K subunits and mTOR was found in the human specimens. The PI3K inhibitor LY294002 and rapamycin were highly synergistic in all six RCC cell lines studied. Similar synergism was seen with all rapamycin concentrations used. NVP-BEZ235 inhibited RCC cell growth in vitro with IC50s in the low ηM range and resultant PARP cleavage.
High PI3K and mTOR expression in RCC defines populations with decreased survival, suggesting that they are good drug targets in RCC. These targets tend to be co-expressed, and co-targeting these molecules is synergistic. NVP-BEZ235 is active in RCC cells in vitro; suggesting that concurrent PI3K and mTOR targeting in RCC warrants further investigation.
Mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a serine/threonine kinase that regulates a variety of cellular functions such as growth, proliferation and autophagy. In a variety of cancer cells, overactivation of mTOR has been reported. In addition, mTOR inhibitors, such as rapamycin and its derivatives, are being evaluated in clinical trials as anticancer drugs. However, no active mutants of mTOR have been identified in human cancer. Here, we report that two different point mutations, S2215Y and R2505P, identified in human cancer genome database confer constitutive activation of mTOR signaling even under nutrient starvation conditions. S2215Y was identified in large intestine adenocarcinoma whereas R2505P was identified in renal cell carcinoma. mTOR complex 1 prepared from cells expressing the mutant mTOR after nutrient starvation still retains the activity to phosphorylate 4E-BP1 in vitro. The cells expressing the mTOR mutant show increased percentage of S-phase cells and exhibit resistance to cell size decrease by amino-acid starvation. The activated mutants are still sensitive to rapamycin. However, they show increased resistance to 1-butanol. Our study points to the idea that mTOR activating mutations can be identified in a wide range of human cancer.
mTORC1; rapamycin; cancer genome database; kinase activity
The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), an evolutionarily conserved serine/threonine protein kinase, integrates both intracellular and extracellular signals and serves as a central regulator of cell metabolism, growth, proliferation, survival, and autophagy. The mTOR pathway is frequently activated in many human cancers, mainly resulting from alterations in the upstream regulators, such as phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/AKT activation, PTEN loss or dysregulation of mTOR-negative regulators (e.g., TSC1/2), leading to uncontrolled proliferation. Thus, inhibiting the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathways is widely considered as an effective approach for targeted cancer therapy. Recently, we and others found that DEPTOR, a naturally occurring inhibitor of both mTORC1 and mTORC2, was degraded by SCF (Skp1-Cullin-F box proteins) E3 ubiquitin ligase, the founding member of cullin-RING-ligases (CRLs), resulting in mTOR activation and cell proliferation. In addition to DEPTOR, previous studies have demonstrated that several other negative regulators of mTOR pathway are also substrates of CRL/SCF E3s. Thus, targeting CRL/SCF E3s is expected to cause the accumulation of these mTOR signal inhibitors to effectively block the mTOR pathway. In this review, we will discuss mTOR signaling pathway, how DEPTOR regulates mTOR/AKT axis, thus acting as a tumor suppressor or oncogene in some cases, how DEPTOR is ubiquitinated and degraded by SCFβ-TrCP E3, and how MLN4924, a small-molecule indirect inhibitor of CRL/SCF E3 ligases through blocking cullin neddylation, might be useful as a novel approach of mTOR pathway targeting for cancer therapy.
The overall goal of the investigation was to examine autophagy in the growth plate and to ascertain how this process was regulated. Herein, we show that in the postmitotic maturing zone of the growth plate, chondrocytes express an autophagic phenotype. This robust and particulate immunohistochemical response provides direct evidence that autophagy is a new and transient stage in the chondrocyte maturation pathway. We found that induction of autophagy was regulated by mTOR, a sensor of cellular metabolism. When mTOR was inhibited, changes in LC3 fluorescence indicated that this kinase regulated development of the autophagic state. To determine if AMP kinase was required for chondrocyte autophagy, we suppressed its expression in N1511 cells using siRNA technology. When these cells were serum starved, a condition that triggers autophagy, there was no change in LC3 distribution. This result confirmed that AMP kinase was required for the induction of the autophagic response. Based on the 2 studies described above, and our previous observation that HIF-1 is required for the induction of autophagy, we put forward the hypothesis that autophagy is regulated by the activities of AMP kinase and mTOR in a HIF-1-dependent manner. Once autophagy is activated, the postmitotic chondrocytes would be expected to remain viable in their unique microenvironment and complete their life cycle.
Growth plate; Chondrocytes; Autophagy; AMP kinase; mTOR
We show that cisplatin resistance in certain lung cancer cell lines can be reversed through inhibition of mTOR (mammalian Target of Rapamycin). These cell lines appear to possess high levels of phospho-mTOR, phospho-AKT and other growth-related proteins, such as hTERT (human telomerase reverse transcriptase), and Cyclin D3 which decrease upon inhibition of mTOR. Importantly, in one cisplatin resistant cell line which expresses BCL2/BCLxL, treatment with mTOR inhibitor (CCI-779) results in decreased levels of these anti-apoptotic proteins and may contribute to increasing apoptosis. However, continuous exposure to CCI-779 leads to expression of P-gp1 (P-glycoprotein1) and should be taken into consideration in designing clinical trials.
Lung cancer; Cisplatin resistance; mTOR; BCL2; BCLxL
The overall goal of the investigation was to examine autophagy in the growth plate and to ascertain how this process was regulated. Herein, we show that while proliferating and terminally differentiated chondrocytes display low levels of LC-3 fluorescence, cells in the post-mitotic maturing zone strongly express particulate LC3 fluorescence. This robust immunohistochemical response of the maturing chondrocyte provides directl evidence that autophagy is a new and transient stage in the chondrocyte maturation pathway. We found that induction of autophagy was regulated by mTOR, a second sensor of cellular metabolism. When mTOR was inhibited, there was extensive reorganization of LC3, indicating that the kinase regulated development of the autophagic state. To determine if AMP kinase was required for chondrocyte autophagy, we suppressed AMPK expression in N1511 cells using siRNA technology. When these cells were serum-starved, a condition that triggers autophagy, we failed to observe a loss of organization of LC3. In other words, chondrocytes failed to induce autophagy. This result confirmed that AMPK was required for the induction of the autophagic response. Based on the two studies described above, and the observation that HIF-1 is required for the induction of autophagy, we put forward the hypothesis that the activity of AMPK and mTOR is regulated by HIF-1. HIF-1-dependent glycolytic activity would elevate AMP levels resulting in AMP kinase activation and suppression of mTOR, activities that lead to increased autophagy. Once autophagy is activated, the post-mitotic chondrocytes would be expected to remain viable in their unique microenvironment, and complete their life cycle. Thus, these two proteins serve to directly regulate the induction of the autophagic response. Once autophagy is activated, the post-mitotic chondrocytes would be expected to remain viable in their unique microenvironment, and complete their life cycle.
growth plate; chondrocytes; autophagy; AMP kinase; mTOR
The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) has emerged as an important cancer therapeutic target. Several mTOR inhibitors are currently being tested in cancer clinical trials. Both PI3K/Akt and MEK/ERK signaling regulate mTOR axis. However, inhibition of mTOR activates Akt survival signaling, which in turn attenuates mTOR inhibitors’ anticancer efficacy. We are interested in developing strategies for enhancing mTOR-targeted cancer therapy. In this study, we report that mTOR inhibition also induced activations of the MEK/ERK signaling pathway in some cancer cell lines after a prolonged treatment. The combination of rapamycin with the MEK inhibitor U0126 significantly enhanced growth inhibitory effects of cancer cells, suggesting that MEK/ERK activation may counteract mTOR inhibitors’ anticancer efficacy. Similarly, the combination of an mTOR inhibitor with the EGF receptor inhibitor erlotinib synergistically inhibited the growth of both human cancer cells in cell cultures and xenografts in nude mice. Moreover, the presence of erlotinib suppressed rapamycin-induced phosphorylation of Akt, ERK and eIF4E as well, implying that erlotinib can suppress mTOR inhibition-induced feedback activation of several survival signaling pathways including Akt, ERK and eIF4E. Thus, we suggest a therapeutic strategy for enhancing mTOR-targeted cancer therapy by preventing mTOR inhibition-induced feedback activation of several survival mechanisms.
mTOR inhibitors; erlotinib; survival signaling; Akt; ERK; eIF4E
Stimulation of the insulin and insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) receptor activates the phosphoinositide-3-kinase/Akt/mTOR pathway causing pleiotropic cellular effects including an mTOR-dependent loss in insulin receptor substrate-1 expression leading to feedback down-regulation of signaling through the pathway. In model systems, tumors exhibiting mutational activation of phosphoinositide-3-kinase/Akt kinase, a common event in cancers, are hypersensitive to mTOR inhibitors, including rapamycin. Despite the activity in model systems, in patients, mTOR inhibitors exhibit more modest antitumor activity. We now show that mTOR inhibition induces insulin receptor substrate-1 expression and abrogates feedback inhibition of the pathway, resulting in Akt activation both in cancer cell lines and in patient tumors treated with the rapamycin derivative, RAD001. IGF-I receptor inhibition prevents rapamycin-induced Akt activation and sensitizes tumor cells to inhibition of mTOR. In contrast, IGF-I reverses the antiproliferative effects of rapamycin in serum-free medium. The data suggest that feedback down-regulation of receptor tyrosine kinase signaling is a frequent event in tumor cells with constitutive mTOR activation. Reversal of this feedback loop by rapamycin may attenuate its therapeutic effects, whereas combination therapy that ablates mTOR function and prevents Akt activation may have improved antitumor activity.
AMPK is a cellular energy sensor that negatively regulates the mTOR signaling pathway. As mTOR plays critical roles in cell growth and tumorigenesis of renal cell carcinoma (RCC), we examined whether exogenous induction of AMPK activity exhibits inhibitory effects on growth and survival of renal cell carcinoma cells. Activation of AMPK by AICAR resulted in potent suppressive effects on RCC growth, while combinations of AICAR with statins were potent inducers of apoptosis in such cells. The effects of AICAR resulted from inhibition of mTOR and its effectors, resulting from induction of AMPK activity. Similar results on RCC cell growth were obtained when combinations of metformin with statins were examined. Importantly, studies to examine the effects of AICAR or metformin, alone or in combinations with statins, on anchorageindependent growth demonstrated potent suppressive effects on RCC tumorigenicity in vitro. Altogether, our studies demonstrate that AMPK plays critical regulatory roles in the regulation of growth of RCC cells and raise the prospect of future use of AMPK activators in the treatment of renal cell carcinoma in humans.
AMPK; mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR); renal cell carcinoma
The mammalian target of rapamycin protein (mTOR) is an evolutionarily conserved kinase that regulates protein synthesis, cell cycle progression and proliferation in response to various environmental cues. As a critical downstream mediator of PI3K signaling, mTOR is important for lymphocyte development and function of mature T and B-cells. Most studies of mTOR in immune responses have relied on the use of pharmacological inhibitors, such as rapamycin. Rapamycin-FKBP12 complex exerts its immunosuppressive and anti-proliferative effect by binding outside the kinase domain of mTOR, and subsequently inhibiting downstream mTOR signaling.
To determine the requirement for mTOR kinase activity in the immune system function, we generated knock-in mice carrying a mutation (D2338) in the catalytic domain of mTOR. While homozygous mTOR kd/kd embryos died before embryonic day 6.5, heterozygous mTOR+/kd mice appeared entirely normal and are fertile. mTOR +/kd mice exhibited normal T and B cell development and unaltered proliferative responses of splenocytes to IL-2 and TCR/CD28. In addition, heterozygousity for the mTOR kinase-dead allele did not sensitize T cells to rapamycin in a CD3-mediated proliferation assay. Unexpectedly, mTOR kinase activity towards its substrate 4E-BP1 was not decreased in hearts and livers from heterozygous animals.
Altogether, our findings indicate that mTOR kinase activity is indispensable for the early development of mouse embryos. Moreover, a single wild type mTOR allele is sufficient to maintain normal postnatal growth and lymphocyte development and proliferation.
AMPK is a cellular energy sensor that negatively regulates the mTOR signaling pathway. As mTOR plays critical roles in cell growth and tumorigenesis of renal cell carcinoma (RCC), we examined whether exogenous induction of AMPK activity exhibits inhibitory effects on growth and survival of renal cell carcinoma cells. Activation of AMPK by AICAR resulted in potent suppressive effects on RCC growth, while combinations of AICAR with statins were potent inducers of apoptosis in such cells. The effects of AICAR resulted from inhibition of mTOR and its effectors, resulting from induction of AMPK activity. Similar results on RCC cell growth were obtained when combinations of metformin with statins were examined. Importantly, studies to examine the effects of AICAR or metformin, alone or in combinations with statins, on anchorage-independent growth demonstrated potent suppressive effects on RCC tumorigenicity in vitro. Altogether, our studies demonstrate that AMPK plays critical regulatory roles in the regulation of growth of RCC cells and raise the prospect of future use of AMPK activators in the treatment of renal cell carcinoma in humans.
AMPK; mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR); renal cell carcinoma
The phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling axis has emerged as a novel target for cancer therapy. Agents that inhibit this pathway are currently under development for lung cancer treatment. In the present study, we have tested whether dual inhibition of PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling can lead to enahnced antitumor effects. We have also examined the role of autophagy during this process.
We analyzed the combination effect of the mTOR inhibitor, temsirolimus, and the Akt inhibitor, GSK690693, on the survival of NCI-H460 and A549 non-small cell lung cancer cells. Cell proliferation was determined by MTT assay and apoptosis induction was evaluated by flow cytometry and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labeling assay. Autophagy induction was also evaluated by acridine orange staining. Changes of apoptosis or autophagy-related proteins were evaluated by western blot analysis.
Combination treatment with temsirolimus and GSK690693 caused synergistically increased cell death in NCI-H460 and A549 cells. This was attributable to increased induction of apoptosis. Caspase 3 activation and poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase cleavage accompanied these findings. Autophagy also increased and inhibition of autophagy resulted in increased cell death, suggesting its cytoprotective role during this process.
Taken together, our results suggest that the combination of temsirolimus and GSK690693 could be a novel strategy for lung cancer therapy. Inhibition of autophagy could also be a promising method of enhancing the combination effect of these drugs.
Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases; TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases; Carcinoma, Non-Small Cell Lung
Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and tumour growth factor alpha (TGFα) are frequently overexpressed in renal cell carcinoma (RCC) yet responses to single-agent EGFR inhibitors are uncommon. Although von Hippel–Lindau (VHL) mutations are predominant, RCC also develops in individuals with tuberous sclerosis (TSC). Tuberous sclerosis mutations activate mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) and biochemically resemble VHL alterations. We found that RCC cell lines expressed EGFR mRNA in the near-absence of other ErbB family members. Combined EGFR and mTOR inhibition synergistically impaired growth in a VHL-dependent manner. Iressa blocked ERK1/2 phosphorylation specifically in wt-VHL cells, whereas rapamycin inhibited phospho-RPS6 and 4E-BP1 irrespective of VHL. In contrast, phospho-AKT was resistant to these agents and MYC translation initiation (polysome binding) was similarly unaffected unless AKT was inhibited. Primary RCCs vs cell lines contained similar amounts of phospho-ERK1/2, much higher levels of ErbB-3, less phospho-AKT, and no evidence of phospho-RPS6, suggesting that mTOR activity was reduced. A subset of tumours and cell lines expressed elevated eIF4E in the absence of upstream activation. Despite similar amounts of EGFR mRNA, cell lines (vs tumours) overexpressed EGFR protein. In the paired cell lines, PRC3 and WT8, EGFR protein was elevated post-transcriptionally in the VHL mutant and EGF-stimulated phosphorylation was prolonged. We propose that combined EGFR and mTOR inhibitors may be useful in the subset of RCCs with wt-VHL. However, apparent differences between primary tumours and cell lines require further investigation.
protein biosynthesis; kidney neoplasms; epidermal growth factor receptor; mitogen-activated protein kinases
Mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) controls lymphangiogenesis. However, the underlying mechanism is not clear. Here we show that rapamycin suppressed insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1)- or fetal bovine serum (FBS)-stimulated lymphatic endothelial cell (LEC) tube formation, an in vitro model of lymphangiogenesis. Expression of a rapamycin-resistant and kinase-active mTOR (S2035T, mTOR-T), but not a rapamycin-resistant and kinase-dead mTOR (S2035T/D2357E, mTOR-TE), conferred resistance to rapamycin inhibition of LEC tube formation, suggesting that rapamycin inhibition of LEC tube formation is mTOR kinase activity dependent. Also, rapamycin inhibited proliferation and motility in the LECs. Furthermore, we found that rapamycin inhibited protein expression of VEGF receptor 3 (VEGFR-3) by inhibiting protein synthesis and promoting protein degradation of VEGFR-3 in the cells. Down-regulation of VEGFR-3 mimicked the effect of rapamycin, inhibiting IGF-1- or FBS-stimulated tube formation, whereas over-expression of VEGFR-3 conferred high resistance to rapamycin inhibition of LEC tube formation. The results indicate that rapamycin inhibits LEC tube formation at least in part by downregulating VEGFR-3 protein expression.