Decoy receptor 3 (DcR3), a member of the tumor necrosis factor receptor superfamily, is amplified and over-expressed in various cancers. The objective of the present study was to investigate the concentration of DcR3 in sera of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients and its clinical significance.
Serum concentrations of DcR3 were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) in 67 patients with HCC, 8 with liver cirrhosis, 17 with cholecystitis, and in 28 healthy individuals. Immunohistochemistry was employed to access protein expression of DcR3 in the corresponding HCC tissues.
Serum concentrations of DcR3 in patients with HCC or cirrhosis were significantly higher than in healthy individuals (P < 0.01). Moreover, serum concentrations of DcR3 in HCC patients were associated with TNM stage, para-cirrhosis, capsular infiltration, and metastasis or recurrence of disease (P < 0.05). There was a positive correlation between the serum concentration of DcR3 and protein expression in HCC tissues (r = 0.472, P < 0.01).
The high serum concentration of DcR3 might play a certain role in pathogenesis, progress, and metastasis of HCC. Moreover, DcR3 might serve as a valuable molecular indicator in early diagnosis and contribute to predicting the clinical outcome in HCC patients.
Decoy receptor 3 (DcR3); enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA); hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC); immunohistochemistry (IHC)
The mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathway participates in several steps of tumour development and is considered a prominent therapeutic target for the design of chemotherapeutic agents. We evaluated the expressions of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), mitogen-activated protein kinase (MEK), an upstream regulator of ERK, and Raf kinase inhibitor protein (RKIP), and investigated correlations of these expressions with clinicopathological features and outcomes in gastric cancer.
Tumour samples were obtained from 105 patients with gastric adenocarcinomas who underwent radical gastrectomy. The expressions of phosphorylated ERK (p-ERK), phosphorylated MEK (p-MEK), and RKIP were analysed by immunohistochemical staining.
Expression of RKIP, p-MEK, and p-ERK was found in 69 (66%), 54 (51%), and 64 (61%) of all tumours, respectively. RKIP expression negatively correlated with the depth of invasion (p < 0.001), lymph node involvement (p = 0.028), and Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) stage (p = 0.007). RKIP expression was associated with significantly longer relapse-free survival (RFS) (p = 0.0033), whereas p-MEK was not (p = 0.79). Patients with p-ERK expression had slightly, but not significantly shorter RFS than those without such expression (p = 0.054). Patients with positive p-ERK and negative RKIP expression had significantly shorter RFS than the other patients (p < 0.001). The combination of RKIP and p-ERK expression was an independent prognostic factor (hazard ratio, 2.4; 95% confidence interval, 1.3 - 4.6; p = 0.008).
Our results demonstrated that loss of RKIP was associated with tumour progression and poor survival. Negative RKIP expression combined with positive p-ERK expression was an independent predictor of poor outcomes in patients with gastric cancer.
Decoy receptor 3 (DcR3) is a soluble protein that binds to and inactivates the death ligand CD95L. Here, we studied a possible association between DcR3 expression and prognosis in patients with renal cell carcinomas (RCCs).
A tissue microarray containing RCC tumor tissue samples and corresponding normal tissue samples was generated. Decoy receptor 3 expression in tumors of 560 patients was examined by immunohistochemistry. The effect of DcR3 expression on disease-specific survival and progression-free survival was assessed using univariate analysis and multivariate Cox regression analysis. Decoy receptor 3 serum levels were determined by ELISA.
High DcR3 expression was associated with high-grade (P = .005) and high-stage (P = .048) RCCs. The incidence of distant metastasis (P = .03) and lymph node metastasis (P = .002) was significantly higher in the group with high DcR3 expression. Decoy receptor 3 expression correlated negatively with disease-specific survival (P < .001) and progression-free survival (P < .001) in univariate analyses. A multivariate Cox regression analysis retained DcR3 expression as an independent prognostic factor that outperformed the Karnofsky performance status. In patients with high-stage RCCs expressing DcR3, the 2-year survival probability was 25%, whereas in patients with DcR3-negative tumors, the survival probability was 65% (P < .001). Moreover, DcR3 serum levels were significantly higher in patients with high-stage localized disease (P = .007) and metastatic disease (P = .001).
DcR3 expression is an independent prognostic factor of RCC progression and mortality. Therefore, the assessment of DcR3 expression levels offers valuable prognostic information that could be used to select patients for adjuvant therapy studies.
Death receptor-3 (DR3) and death decoy receptor-3 (DcR3) are both members of the tumour necrosis factor receptor (TNFR) superfamily. The TNFR superfamily contains eight death domain-containing receptors, including TNFR1 (also called DR1), Fas (also called DR2), DR3, DR4, DR5, DR6, NGFR and EDAR. Upon the binding of these receptors with their corresponding ligands, the death domain recruits various proteins that mediate both the death and proliferation of cells. Receptor function is negatively regulated by decoy receptors (DcR1, DcR2, DcR3 and OPG). DR3/DcR3 are a pair of positive and negative players with which vascular endothelial growth inhibitor (VEGI) interacts. VEGI has been suggested to be a potential tumour suppressor. The inhibitory effects of VEGI on cancer are manifested in three main areas: a direct effect on cancer cells, an anti-angiogenic effect on endothelial cells, and the stimulation of dendritic cell maturation. A recent study indicated that DR3 may be a new receptor for E-selectin, which has been reported to be associated with cancer metastasis. DcR3 is a soluble receptor, highly expressed in various tumours, which lacks an apparent transmembrane segment, prevents cytokine response through ligand binding and neutralization, and is an inhibitor of apoptosis. DcR3 serves as a decoy receptor for FasL, LIGHT and VEGI. The cytokine LIGHT activates various anti-tumour functions and is expected to be a promising candidate for cancer therapy. Certain tumours may escape FasL-dependent immune-cytotoxic attack by expressing DcR3, which blocks FasL function. DR3/DcR3 play profound roles in regulating cell death and proliferation in cancer. The present review briefly discusses DR3/DcR3 and attempts to elucidate the role of these negative and positive players in cancer.
death receptor-3; death decoy receptor-3; cancer
Previous studies have demonstrates that, after nerve injury, extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase (ERK) activation in the spinal cord-initially in neurons, then microglia, and finally astrocytes. In addition, phosphorylation of ERK (p-ERK) contributes to nociceptive responses following inflammation and/or nerve injury. However, the role of spinal cells and the ERK/MAPK pathway in cancer-induced bone pain (CIBP) remains poorly understood. The present study analyzed activation of spinal cells and the ERK/MAPK pathway in a rat model of bone cancer pain.
A Sprague Dawley rat model of bone cancer pain was established and the model was evaluated by a series of tests. Moreover, fluorocitrate (reversible glial metabolic inhibitor) and U0126 (a MEK inhibitor) was administered intrathecally. Western blots and double immunofluorescence were used to detect the expression and location of phosphorylation of ERK (p-ERK). Our studies on pain behavior show that the time between day 6 and day 18 is a reasonable period ("time window" as the remaining stages) to investigate bone cancer pain mechanisms and to research analgesic drugs. Double-labeling immunofluorescence revealed that p-ERK was sequentially expressed in neurons, microglia, and astrocytes in the L4-5 superficial spinal cord following inoculation of Walker 256 cells. Phosphorylation of ERK (p-ERK) and the transcription factor cAMP response element-binding protein (p-CREB) increased in the spinal cord of CIBP rats, which was attenuated by intrathecal injection of fluorocitrate or U0126.
The ERK inhibitors could have a useful role in CIBP management, because the same target is expressed in various cells at different times.
bone cancer pain; hyperalgesia; spinal cord; extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase (ERK); cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB); rat
Decoy Receptor 3 (DcR3), a secreted member of the Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF) receptor superfamily, neutralizes three different TNF ligands: FasL, LIGHT, and TL1A. Each of these ligands engages unique signaling receptors which direct distinct and critical immune responses. We report the crystal structures of the unliganded DcR3 ectodomain and its complex with TL1A, as well as complementary mutagenesis and biochemical studies. These analyses demonstrate that DcR3 interacts with invariant backbone and side chain atoms in the membrane-proximal half of TL1A which supports recognition of its three distinct TNF ligands. Additional features serve as anti-determinants that preclude interaction with other members of the TNF superfamily. This mode of interaction is unique among characterized TNF:TNFR family members and provides a mechanistic basis for the broadened specificity required to support the decoy function of DcR3, as well as for the rational manipulation of specificity and affinity of DcR3 and its ligands.
Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma (PPARγ) exerts multiple functions in determination of cell fate, tissue metabolism, and host immunity. Two synthetic PPARγ ligands (rosiglitazone and pioglitazone) were approved for the therapy of type-2 diabetes mellitus and are expected to serve as novel cures for inflammatory diseases and cancer. However, PPARγ and its ligands exhibit a janus-face behaviour as tumor modulators in various systems, resulting in either tumor suppression or tumor promotion. This may be in part due to signaling crosstalk to the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascades. The genomic activity of PPARγ is modulated, in addition to ligand binding, by phosphorylation of a serine residue by MAPKs, such as extracellular signal-regulated protein kinases-1/2 (ERK-1/2), or by nucleocytoplasmic compartmentalization through the ERK activators MAPK kinases-1/2 (MEK-1/2). PPARγ ligands themselves activate the ERK cascade through nongenomic and often PPARγ-independent signaling. In the current review, we discuss the molecular mechanisms and physiological implications of the crosstalk of PPARγ with MEK-ERK signaling and its potential as a novel drug target for cancer therapy in patients.
Curative treatment of breast cancer patients using chemotherapy often fails as a result of intrinsic or acquired resistance of the tumor to the drug. ERK is one of the main components of the Ras/Raf/MEK/ERK cascade, which mediates signal from cell surface receptors to transcription factors to regulate different gene expression. In this study, cytotoxicity and the expression of Erk1/2 and phospho-ERK was compared in MDA-MB-231 (ER-) and MCF-7 (ER+) cell lines after treatment with doxorubicin (DOX) or docetaxel (DOCT).
Materials and Methods
Cell cytotoxicity of DOX or DOCT was calculated using MTT assay. Immonofluorescent technique was used to show MDR-1 protein in MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7 cells after treatment with DOX or DOCT. The expression of ERK1/2 and phpspho-ERK was assayed with immunoblotting.
Comparing IC50 values showed that MDA-MB-231 cells are more sensitive than MCF-7 cells to DOX or DOCT. Immonofluorescent results confirmed the expression of MDR-1 in these two cell lines after DOX or DOCT treatment. In MDA-MB-231 cells the expression of ERK1/2 and phospho-ERK was decreased after DOX treatment in a dose-dependent manner. In contrast in MCF-7 cells the expression of ERK1/2 and phospho-ERK was increased after DOX treatment. DOCT treatment demonstrated the same result with less significant differences than DOX.
The heterogeneity seen in cell lines actually reflects the heterogeneity of breast cancers. That is why, patients categorized in one group respond differently to a single treatment. These results emphasize the importance of a more accurate classification and a more specific treatment of breast cancer subtypes.
Breast Cancer; Docetaxel; Doxorubicin; MCF-7; MDA-MB-231; Phospho-ERK
The AKT/mammalian target of rapamycin (AKT/mTOR) and ERK MAPK signaling pathways have been shown to cooperate in prostate cancer progression and the transition to androgen-independent disease. We have now tested the effects of combinatorial inhibition of these pathways on prostate tumorigenicity by performing preclinical studies using a genetically engineered mouse model of prostate cancer. We report here that combination therapy using rapamycin, an inhibitor of mTOR, and PD0325901, an inhibitor of MAPK kinase 1 (MEK; the kinase directly upstream of ERK), inhibited cell growth in cultured prostate cancer cell lines and tumor growth particularly for androgen-independent prostate tumors in the mouse model. We further showed that such inhibition leads to inhibition of proliferation and upregulated expression of the apoptotic regulator Bcl-2–interacting mediator of cell death (Bim). Furthermore, analyses of human prostate cancer tissue microarrays demonstrated that AKT/mTOR and ERK MAPK signaling pathways are often coordinately deregulated during prostate cancer progression in humans. We therefore propose that combination therapy targeting AKT/mTOR and ERK MAPK signaling pathways may be an effective treatment for patients with advanced prostate cancer, in particular those with hormone-refractory disease.
The Raf-MEK-ERK pathway is commonly activated in human cancers, largely attributable to the extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERKs) being a common downstream target of growth factor receptors, Ras, and Raf. Elevation of these up-stream signals occurs frequently in a variety of malignancies and ERK kinases play critical roles in promoting cell proliferation. Therefore, inhibition of MEK-mediated ERK activation is very appealing in cancer therapy. Consequently, numerous MEK inhibitors have been developed over the years. However, clinical trials have yet to produce overwhelming support for using MEK inhibitors in cancer therapy. Although complex reasons may have contributed to this outcome, an alternative possibility is that the MEK-ERK pathway may not solely provide proliferation signals to malignancies, the central scientific rationale in developing MEK inhibitors for cancer therapy. Recent developments may support this alternative possibility. Accumulating evidence now demonstrated that the MEK-ERK pathway contributes to the proper execution of cellular DNA damage response (DDR), a major pathway of tumor suppression. During DDR, the MEK-ERK pathway is commonly activated, which facilitates the proper activation of DDR checkpoints to prevent cell division. Inhibition of MEK-mediated ERK activation, therefore, compromises checkpoint activation. As a result, cells may continue to proliferate in the presence of DNA lesions, leading to the accumulation of mutations and thereby promoting tumorigenesis. Alternatively, reduction in checkpoint activation may prevent efficient repair of DNA damages, which may cause apoptosis or cell catastrophe, thereby enhancing chemotherapy’s efficacy. This review summarizes our current understanding of the participation of the ERK kinases in DDR.
ERK1/2 kinases; DNA damage response (DDR); checkpoint activation; ATM; ATR.
ERK/MAPK pathway activity is regulated by the antagonist function of activating kinases and inactivating protein phosphatases. Sustained ERK pathway activity is commonly observed in human malignancies, however the mechanisms by which the pathway is protected from phosphatase-mediated inactivation in the tumor tissue remain obscure. Here we show that methylesterase PME-1-mediated inhibition of the protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) promotes basal ERK pathway activity, and is required for efficient growth factor response. Mechanistically PME-1 is shown to support ERK pathway signaling upstream of Raf, but downstream of growth factor receptors and PKC. In malignant glioblastoma, PME-1 expression levels correlate with both ERK activity and cell proliferation in vivo. Moreover, PME-1 expression significantly correlates with disease progression in human astrocytic gliomas (N=222). Together, these observations identify PME-1 expression as one mechanism by which ERK pathway activity is maintained in cancer cells, and suggest important functional role for PME-1 in the disease progression of human astrocytic gliomas.
PP2A; PPME-1; Ras/Raf/MEK/ERK; Malignant glioblastoma; tumor suppressor
To study spatiotemporal regulation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK)/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK1/2) signaling cascade in living cells, a HeLa cell line in which MAPK kinase of ERK kinase (MEK) 2 (MAPK kinase) was knocked down by RNA interference and replaced with the green fluorescent protein (GFP)-tagged MEK2 was generated. In these cells, MEK2–GFP was stably expressed at a level similar to that of the endogenous MEK2 in the parental cells. Upon activation of the EGF receptor (EGFR), a pool of MEK2–GFP was found initially translocated to the plasma membrane and then accumulated in a subset of early and late endosomes. However, activated MEK was detected only at the plasma membrane and not in endosomes. Surprisingly, MEK2–GFP endosomes did not contain active EGFR, suggesting that endosomal MEK2–GFP was separated from the upstream signaling complexes. Knockdown of clathrin by small interfering RNA (siRNA) abolished MEK2 recruitment to endosomes but resulted in increased activation of ERK without affecting the activity of MEK2–GFP. The accumulation of MEK2–GFP in endosomes was also blocked by siRNA depletion of RAF kinases and by the MEK1/2 inhibitor, UO126. We propose that the recruitment of MEK2 to endosomes can be a part of the negative feedback regulation of the EGFR–MAPK signaling pathway by endocytosis.
EGF receptor; endocytosis; endosome; ERK; MEK
The tumor suppressor PTEN dephosphorylates focal adhesion kinase (FAK) and inhibits integrin-mediated cell spreading and cell migration. We demonstrate here that expression of PTEN selectively inhibits activation of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway. PTEN expression in glioblastoma cells lacking the protein resulted in inhibition of integrin-mediated MAP kinase activation. Epidermal growth factor (EGF) and platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)- induced MAPK activation were also blocked. To determine the specific point of inhibition in the Ras/Raf/ MEK/ERK pathway, we examined these components after stimulation by fibronectin or growth factors. Shc phosphorylation and Ras activity were inhibited by expression of PTEN, whereas EGF receptor autophosphorylation was unaffected. The ability of cells to spread at normal rates was partially rescued by coexpression of constitutively activated MEK1, a downstream component of the pathway. In addition, focal contact formation was enhanced as indicated by paxillin staining. The phosphatase domain of PTEN was essential for all of these functions, because PTEN with an inactive phosphatase domain did not suppress MAP kinase or Ras activity. In contrast to its effects on ERK, PTEN expression did not affect c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase (JNK) or PDGF-stimulated Akt. Our data suggest that a general function of PTEN is to down-regulate FAK and Shc phosphorylation, Ras activity, downstream MAP kinase activation, and associated focal contact formation and cell spreading.
PTEN; integrin; growth factor; MAP kinase; cell spreading
Objective: To investigate the expression of death decoy receptor 3 (DcR3) and survivin in colorectal carcinoma. Methods: Tumor and normal tissues were taken from a total of 100 colorectal carcinoma patients during surgery, and the expression of DcR3 and survivin was examined by immunohistochemistry, Western blotting, and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analyses. Results: RT-PCR showed that the expression levels of DcR3 mRNA (0.846±0.242, P<0.01) and survivin mRNA (0.7835±0.2392, P<0.01) in colorectal cancer tissues were significantly higher than those in adjacent normal tissues. Western blotting showed that the expression levels of DcR3 protein (0.795±0.261, P<0.01) and survivin protein (0.6765±0.1351, P<0.01) in tumor tissues were significantly higher than those in non-cancer tissues. The immunohistochemical streptavidin-peroxidase (SP) method showed that the positive expression rates of DcR3 and survivin were 67.0% and 58.0% in colorectal cancer tissues, and 18.0% and 3.0% in non-cancerous colorectal tissues (P<0.05), respectively. The positive correlations of DcR3 (P<0.01) and survivin (P<0.01) to the differentiation of colorectal carcinoma cells, lymph node metastasis, and pathological stage were observed. The expression of DcR3 and survivin was found to be positively correlated to clinicopathologic parameters of colorectal carcinoma. Conclusion: The overexpressed DcR3 and survivin in colorectal cancer may contribute to the development of the cancer. The monitoring of these two proteins may be useful for the diagnosis, differentiation, metastasis, and determination of stages of colorectal carcinoma.
Death decoy receptor 3 (DcR3); Survivin; Colorectal carcinoma
The nuclear hormone receptor, estrogen receptor α (ERα), and mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) play key roles in hormone-dependent cancers, and yet their interplay and the integration of their signaling inputs remain poorly understood. In these studies, we document that estrogen-occupied ERα activates and interacts with extracellular signal-regulated kinase 2 (ERK2), a downstream effector in the MAPK pathway, resulting in ERK2 and ERα colocalization at chromatin binding sites across the genome of breast cancer cells. This genomic colocalization, predominantly at conserved distal enhancer sites, requires the activation of both ERα and ERK2 and enables ERK2 modulation of estrogen-dependent gene expression and proliferation programs. The ERK2 substrate CREB1 was also activated and recruited to ERK2-bound chromatin following estrogen treatment and found to cooperate with ERα/ERK2 in regulating gene transcription and cell cycle progression. Our study reveals a novel paradigm with convergence of ERK2 and ERα at the chromatin level that positions this kinase to support nuclear receptor activities in crucial and direct ways, a mode of collaboration likely to underlie MAPK regulation of gene expression by other nuclear receptors as well.
Perturbed action of signal transduction pathways, including the mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase pathways, is one of the hallmarks of many cancers. While the implication of the typical MAP kinase pathways ERK1/2-MEK1/2, p38MAPK and JNK is well established, recent findings illustrate that the atypical MAP kinase ERK3/4-MK5 may also be involved in tumorigenic processes. Remarkably, the ERK3/4-MK5 pathway seems to possess anti-oncogenic as well as pro-oncogenic properties in cell culture and aninal models. This review summarizes the mutations in the genes encoding ERK3, ERK4 and MK5 that have been detected in different cancers, reports aberrant expression levels of these proteins in human tumours, and discusses the mechanisms by which this pathway can induce senescence, stimulate angiogenesis and invasiveness.
PRAK; RAS; c-MYC; IGB2PB; Angiogenesis; Senescence; HSP27; FOXO3a
The activation of receptor tyrosine kinases, particularly ErbB2, plays an important role in the genesis of breast cancer. ErbB2 kinase activity promotes Ras-mediated stimulation of downstream protein kinase cascades, including the Ras/Raf-1/Mek/extracellular-signal regulated kinase (Erk) pathway, leading to tumor cell growth and migration. Signaling through the Ras-Erk pathway can be influenced by p21-activated kinase-1 (Pak1), an effector of the Rho family GTPases Rac and Cdc42. In this study, we asked if ErbB2 expression correlates with Pak1 and Erk activity in human breast cancer specimens, and if Pak1 signaling is required for ErbB2 transformation in a 3D in vitro setting and in xenografts. We found a correlation between ErbB2 expression and activation of Pak in estrogen-receptor positive human breast tumor samples and observed that in 3D cultures, activation of Rac-Pak1 pathway by ErbB2 homodimers induced growth factor independent proliferation and promoted disruption of three-dimensional mammary acinar-like structures through activation of the Erk and Akt pathways. Further, we found that inhibition of Pak1 by small molecules compromised activation of Erk and Akt, resulting in reversion of the malignant phenotype and restoration of normal acinar architecture. Finally, ErbB2-amplified breast cancer cells expressing a specific Pak inhibitor showed delayed tumor formation and down-regulation of Erk and Akt signaling in vivo. These data imply that the Rac-Pak pathway is vital to ErbB2-mediated transformation and that Pak inhibitors represent plausible drug targets in breast cancers in which ErbB2 signaling is activated.
transformation; small GTPase; protein kinase; ErbB2; signal transduction; breast cancer
Decoy receptor 3 (DcR3) is a soluble decoy receptor belonging to the tumor necrosis factor receptor superfamily that is overexpressed in various malignant tumor types. DcR3 has been implicated in tumor cell survival by inhibiting apoptosis and by interfering with immune surveillance. A previous study showed that DcR3 expression is associated with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-positive lymphomas but rarely with non-EBV-positive B-cell lymphomas, suggesting that the presence of EBV may affect DcR3 expression. Here, we demonstrated enhanced DcR3 expression upon EBV reactivation in P3HR1 cells and in EBV-infected 293 cells. This enhancement, however, could not be detected in 293 cells infected with EBV with BRLF1 deleted. We found that EBV transactivator, Rta, could upregulate DcR3 expression by direct binding to an Rta-responsive element (RRE) located in the DcR3 promoter region and that this RRE is important for Rta-mediated DcR3 expression. Overexpressing CREB-binding protein (CBP) further enhanced Rta-dependent DcR3 expression, suggesting Rta-dependent DcR3 transcription activity is mediated by CBP. Previously, Rta was shown to enhance phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase (PI3-K) activity. However, Rta-transduced PI 3-K activity plays a minor role in DcR3 expression. This is the first report to demonstrate that Rta upregulates a cellular gene by direct binding to an RRE.
Estrogen receptor alpha (ERα) degradation is regulated by ubiquitination, but the signaling pathways that modulate ERα turnover are unknown. We found that extracellular signal-regulated kinase 7 (ERK7) preferentially enhances the destruction of ERα but not the related androgen receptor. Loss of ERK7 was correlated with breast cancer progression, and all ERα-positive breast tumors had decreased ERK7 expression compared to that found in normal breast tissue. In human breast cells, a dominant-negative ERK7 mutant decreased the rate of endogenous ERα degradation >4-fold in the presence of hormone and potentiated estrogen responsiveness. ERK7 targets the ERα ligand-binding domain for destruction by enhancing its ubiquitination. Thus, ERK7 is a novel regulator of estrogen responsiveness through its control of ERα turnover.
Erk1/2 mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) are often hyperactivated in human cancers, where they affect multiple processes, including proliferation. However, the effects of Erk1/2 loss in normal epithelial tissue, the setting of most extracellular signal-regulated kinase (Erk)–associated neoplasms, are unknown. In epidermis, loss of Erk1 or Erk2 individually has no effect, whereas simultaneous Erk1/2 depletion inhibits cell division, demonstrating that these MAPKs are necessary for normal tissue self-renewal. Growth inhibition caused by Erk1/2 loss is rescued by reintroducing Erk2, but not by activating Erk effectors that promote G1 cell cycle progression. Unlike fibroblasts, in which Erk1/2 loss decreases cyclin D1 expression and induces G1/S arrest, Erk1/2 loss in epithelial cells reduces cyclin B1 and c-Fos expression and induces G2/M arrest while disrupting a gene regulatory network centered on cyclin B1–Cdc2. Thus, the cell cycle stages at which Erk1/2 activity is required vary by cell type, with Erk1/2 functioning in epithelial cells to enable progression through G2/M.
Human epidemiological studies have shown that diets enriched in n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFA) are associated with a lower incidence of cancers including breast cancer. Our previous studies showed that the n-3 PUFA, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), upregulated syndecan-1 (SDC-1) expression to induce apoptosis in the human breast cancer cell line MCF-7. We now present evidence of a signaling pathway that is impacted by SDC-1 in these cells and in mouse mammary tissues to result in apoptosis. In MCF-7 cells and SK-BR-3 cells, DHA and a SDC-1 ectodomain impaired signaling of the p44/42 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway by inhibiting the phosphorylation of MAPK/Erk (MEK)/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (Erk) and Bad to induce apoptosis. SDC-1 siRNA significantly enhanced phosphorylation of these signal molecules and blocked the inhibitory effects of DHA on their phosphorylation. SDC-1 siRNA diminished apoptosis of MCF-7 cells, an effect that was markedly blocked by MEK inhibitor, PD98059. In vivo studies used (i) Fat-1 mice, a genetic model able to convert n-6 to n-3 PUFA to result in higher SDC-1 levels in Fat-1 mammary tissue compared with that of wild-type (wt) mice. Phosphorylation of MEK, Erk and Bad was lower in the Fat-1 versus wt tissue and (ii) SDC-1−/− mice that demonstrated markedly higher levels of phosphorylated MEK, Erk and Bad in mammary gland tissue compared with those of SDC+/+ mice. These data elucidate a pathway whereby SDC-1, upregulated by DHA, induces apoptosis in breast cancer cells through inhibition of MEK/Erk/Bad signaling.
Extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERKs) are signaling molecules that regulate many cellular processes. We have previously identified an alternatively spliced 46-kDa form of ERK1 that is expressed in rats and mice and named ERK1b. Here we report that the same splicing event in humans and monkeys causes, due to sequence differences in the inserted introns, the production of an ERK isoform that migrates together with the 42-kDa ERK2. Because of the differences of this isoform from ERK1b, we named it ERK1c. We found that its expression levels are about 10% of ERK1. ERK1c seems to be expressed in a wide variety of tissues and cells. Its activation by MEKs and inactivation by phosphatases are slower than those of ERK1, which is probably the reason for its differential regulation in response to extracellular stimuli. Unlike ERK1, ERK1c undergoes monoubiquitination, which is increased with elevated cell density concomitantly with accumulation of ERK1c in the Golgi apparatus. Elevated cell density also causes enhanced Golgi fragmentation, which is facilitated by overexpression of native ERK1c and is prevented by dominant-negative ERK1c, indicating that ERK1c mediates cell density-induced Golgi fragmentation. The differential regulation of ERK1c extends the signaling specificity of MEKs after stimulation by various extracellular stimuli.
To explore the molecular mechanisms by which glioblastomas are resistant to tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL), we examined TRAIL signaling pathways in the tumors. TRAIL has four membrane-anchored receptors, death receptor 4/5 (DR4/5) and decoy receptor 1/2 (DcR1/2). Of these receptors, only DR5 was expressed consistently in glioblastoma cell lines and tumor tissues, ruling out the role of DcR1/2 in TRAIL resistance. Upon TRAIL binding, DR5 was homotrimerized and recruited Fas-associated death domain (FADD) and caspase-8 for the assembly of death-inducing signaling complex (DISC) in the lipid rafts of plasma membrane. In the DISC, caspase-8 was cleaved and initiated apoptosis by cleaving downstream caspases in TRAIL-sensitive glioblastoma cells. In TRAIL-resistant cells, however, DR5-mediated DISC was modified by receptor-interacting protein (RIP), cellular FADD-like interleukin-1β-converting enzyme-inhibitory protein (c-FLIP) and phosphoprotein enriched in diabetes or in astrocyte-15 (PED/PEA-15). This DISC modification occurred in the non-raft fractions of plasma membrane and resulted in the inhibition of caspase-8 cleavage and the activation of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB). Treatment of resistant cells with parthenolide, an inhibitor of inhibitor of κB (I-κB) eliminated TRAIL-induced NF-κB activity but not TRAIL resistance. In contrast, however, targeting of either RIP, c-FLIP or PED/PEA-15 with small interfering RNA (siRNA) led to the redistribution of the DISC from non-rafts to lipid rafts and eliminated the inhibition of caspase-8 cleavage and thereby the TRAIL resistance. Taken together, this study indicates that the DISC modification by RIP, c-FLIP and PED/PEA-15 is the most upstream event in TRAIL resistance in glioblastomas.
glioblastoma; apoptosis; caspase-8; DR5; TRAIL
Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway signaling plays an important role in the majority of non-small-cell lung cancers (NSCLCs). In a prior microarray analysis of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibition in NSCLC cell lines, we noted that several dual specificity phosphatases (DUSPs) were among the most highly and immediately regulated genes. DUSPs act as natural terminators of MAPK signal transduction and therefore, we hypothesized a tumor suppressive role via feedback mechanisms. In the current study, we focus on the assessment of DUSP6, a cytoplasmic DUSP with high specificity for extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK). We demonstrate that DUSP6 expression tracks in tandem with ERK inhibition and that regulation of DUSP6 is mediated at the promoter level by ETS1, a well-known nuclear target of activated ERK. Small interfering RNA knockdown in DUSP6-high H441 lung cancer cells significantly increased ERK activation and cellular proliferation, whereas plasmid-driven overexpression in DUSP6-low H1975 lung cancer cells significantly reduced ERK activation and cellular proliferation and promoted apoptosis. Also, DUSP6 overexpression synergized with EGFR inhibitor treatment in EGFR-mutant HCC827 cells. Our results indicate that DUSP6 expression is regulated by ERK signaling and that DUSP6 exerts antitumor effects via negative feedback regulation, pointing to an important feedback loop in NSCLC. Further studies assessing the tumor suppressive role of DUSP6 and strategies aimed at modulation of its activity are warranted.
Inhibition of the PI3K (phosphoinositide 3-kinase)/Akt/mTORC1 (mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1) and Ras/MEK [MAPK (mitogen-activated protein kinase)/ERK (extracellular-signal-regulated kinase) kinase]/ERK pathways for cancer therapy has been pursued for over a decade with limited success. Emerging data have indicated that only discrete subsets of cancer patients have favourable responses to these inhibitors. This is due to genetic mutations that confer drug insensitivity and compensatory mechanisms. Therefore understanding of the feedback mechanisms that occur with respect to specific genetic mutations may aid identification of novel biomarkers that predict patient response. In the present paper, we show that feedback between the PI3K/Akt/mTORC1 and Ras/MEK/ERK pathways is cell-line-specific and highly dependent on the activating mutation of K-Ras or overexpression c-Met. We found that cell lines exhibited differential signalling and apoptotic responses to PD184352, a specific MEK inhibitor, and PI103, a second-generation class I PI3K inhibitor. We reveal that feedback from the PI3K/Akt/mTORC1 to the Ras/MEK/ERK pathway is present in cancer cells harbouring either K-Ras activating mutations or amplification of c-Met but not the wild-type counterparts. Moreover, we demonstrate that inhibition of protein phosphatase activity by OA (okadaic acid) restored PI103-mediated feedback in wild-type cells. Together, our results demonstrate a novel mechanism for feedback between the PI3K/Akt/mTORC1 and the Ras/MEK/ERK pathways that only occurs in K-Ras mutant and c-Met amplified cells but not the isogenic wild-type cells through a mechanism that may involve inhibition of a specific endogenous phosphatase(s) activity. We conclude that monitoring K-Ras and c-Met status are important biomarkers for determining the efficacy of PI103 and other PI3K/Akt inhibitors in cancer therapy.
Akt; cancer cell; c-Met; K-Ras; mitogen-activated protein kinase/extracellular-signal-regulated kinase kinase (MEK); phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K); DMEM, Dulbecco's modified Eagle's medium; DUSP6, dual-specific phosphatase 6; ERK, extracellular-signal-regulated kinase; FBS, fetal bovine serum; HGF, human growth factor; MAPK, mitogen-activated protein kinase; MDA, malondialdehyde; MEK, MAPK/ERK kinase; MTT, 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyl-2H-tetrazolium bromide; OA, okadaic acid; pAkt, phospho-Akt; PARP, poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase; pERK, phospho-ERK; PI3K, phosphoinositide 3-kinase; siRNA, small interfering RNA; mTORC, mammalian target of rapamycin complex.