Antiangiogenesis is a promising antitumor strategy that inhibits tumor vascular formation to suppress tumor growth. Specifically, targeting VEGF has shown therapeutic benefits in many cancer types, leading to its approval as the first antiangiogenic drug by the Food and Drug Administration in the United States. It is known, however, that patients will experience unfavorable side effects as the VEGF and/or VEGF receptor signaling pathway is also required for homeostasis in normal tissues. Moreover, due to the cytostatic nature of antiangiogenic, cancer cells that are not killed by these drugs later develop an even more malignant phenotype, resulting in tumor invasion and metastasis. Although there have been many attempts to reduce drug resistance and increase therapeutic efficacy by combining antiangiogenic drugs with chemotherapy, the cumulative toxicity of antiangiogenic combinations limits their feasibility as treatments, as chronic angiogenesis inhibition typically reduces the antitumor effect of the co-administered chemotherapeutics. To overcome these problems, it is critical to explore new strategies that limit tumor resistance and side effects and also increase the exposure of chemotherapy drugs at the tumor site. Here, we review current understanding of antiangiogenic drugs and introduce a new combination strategy that links direct antiangiogenic protein and enzyme prodrug system with dual-targeting antiangiogenic and antiproliferative therapeutic effect in tumor microenvironment. This strategy has the potential to overcome these clinical hindrances and may serve as a paradigm for the next generation of antiangiogenic drugs.
Antiangiogenesis; bevacizumab; chemotherapy; 5-fluorouracil; endothelial cell-targeting
Enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2), a catalytic component of polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2), epigenetically regulates chromatin structure and gene expressions through tri-methylation at histone H3K27 and recruitment of DNA methyltransferases for gene silencing. Despite extensive studies of the role of EZH2 in cancer progression and malignancy, increasing evidence also suggest that EZH2 plays a critical role in stem cells renewal, maintenance, and differentiation into specific cell lineages. Here, we review the updated information regarding how EZH2 contributes to stem cell maintenance, cell lineage determination, including myogenesis, adipogenesis, osteogenesis, neurogenesis, hematopoiesis, lymphopoiesis, epidermal differentiation and hepatogenesis, and how EZH2 is regulated by phosphorylation and microRNAs in these processes.
EZH2; stem cells; cell lineage; differentiation
Forkhead O transcription factors (FOXO) playa pivotal role in the regulation of a myriad of cellular functions including cell cycle arrest, cell death, and protection from stress stimuli. Activation of cell survival pathways such as phosphoinositide-3-kinase/AKT/IKK or RAS/mitogen-activated protein kinase are known to phosphorylate FOXOs at different sites which cause FOXOs nuclear exclusion and degradation, resulting in the suppression of FOXO's transcriptional activity. Perturbation of FOXO's function leads to deregulated cell proliferation and accumulation of DNA damage, resulting in diseases such as cancer. Emerging evidence shows that active FOXO proteins are crucial for keeping cells in check; and inactivation of FOXO proteins is associated with tumorigenesis, including breast cancer, prostate cancer, glioblastoma, rhabdomyosarcoma, and leukemia. Moreover, clinically used drugs like paclitaxel, imatinib, and doxorubicin have been shown to achieve their therapeutic effects through activation of FOXO3a and FOXO3a targets. In this review, we will focus the novel functions of FOXOs revealed in recent studies and further highlight FOXOs as new therapeutic targets in a broad spectrum of cancers.
IκB kinases (IKK) and IKK-related kinases play critical roles in regulating the immune response through nuclear factor-κB and IFN regulatory factor – dependent signaling transduction cascades. Recently, these kinases have been implicated in the pathogenesis of many human diseases, including cancer. In fact, dysregulation of IKK activities promotes tumor survival, proliferation, migration, metastasis, and angiogenesis—common characteristics of many types of human cancers. Because of their oncogenic effects in human cancer development, targeting IKK and IKK-related kinases is becoming an increasingly popular avenue for the development of novel therapeutic interventions for cancer. This review will briefly cover the recent discovery of the downstream substrates of IKK and IKK-related kinases, and outline the strategies used for targeting IKK as a therapeutic intervention for cancer.
The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) has been shown to be able to translocate to the nucleus where it is involved in many cellular process including transcriptional regulation and DNA repair. Recently, it has been shown that the DNA damage-inducing agents ionizing radiation (IR) and cisplatin are able to induce EGFR nuclear localization, and this nuclear localization is correlated with increased DNA-PK activity, which plays an essential role in DNA double stranded repair. Here we sought to determine if there is a causal relationship between nuclear EGFR and DNA repair activity. We found that mutation in the nuclear localization signal (NLS) of EGFR (mNLS), known to be unable to translocate to the nucleus, released EGFR induced resistance to cisplatin. Re-introduction of an NLS in the C-terminal allowed EGFR to re-enter the nucleus and the cells regained resistance to cisplatin. In addition, we show that the re-expression of a functional nuclear localization sequence in EGFR (mNLS-R) is not only able to restore its resistance to cisplatin, but also reduced the DNA damage caused by cisplatin, and restored DNA repair activity. Thus, we demonstrate here that nuclear EGFR is required for DNA repair and resistance to cisplatin treatment.
Epidermal growth factor receptor; nuclear localization; dna damage; DNA repair; cisplatin
Clinical correlation studies have clearly shown that obesity is associated with breast cancer risk and patient survival. Although several potential mechanisms linking obesity and cancers have been proposed, the detailed molecular mechanism of obesity-mediated breast tumorigenesis has not yet been critically evaluated. In this study, we evaluated the effects of obesity on mammary tumor initiation and progression using mice with genetic and diet-induced obesity bearing mammary tumor xenografts and mouse mammary tumor virusneu transgenic mice that were fed a high-fat diet. We show that obesity promoted mammary tumor growth and development in these animal models. Moreover, the expressions of TNFα, VEGF, IKKβ, and mTOR are upregulated in mammary tumors of obese mice, suggesting that the IKKβ/ mTOR/VEGF signaling pathway is activated by TNFα in the tumors of obese mice. More importantly, inhibitors (rapamycin, bevacizumab, and aspirin) that target members of the pathway suppressed tumorigenesis and prolonged survival more effectively in obese mice than in nonobese mice. Here, we not only identified a specific signaling pathway that contributes to mammary tumorigenesis in obese mice but also a strategy for treating obesity-mediated breast cancer.
There is a pressing need to identify prognostic markers of metastatic disease and targets for treatment. Combining high-throughput RNA sequencing, functional characterization, mechanistic studies and clinical validation, we identify leukemia inhibitory factor receptor (LIFR) as a breast cancer metastasis suppressor downstream of the microRNA miR-9 and upstream of Hippo signaling. Restoring LIFR expression in highly malignant tumor cells suppresses metastasis by triggering a Hippo kinase cascade that leads to phosphorylation, cytoplasmic retention and functional inactivation of the transcriptional coactivator YES-associated protein (YAP). Conversely, loss of LIFR in nonmetastatic breast cancer cells induces migration, invasion and metastatic colonization through activation of YAP. LIFR is downregulated in human breast carcinomas and inversely correlates with metastasis. Notably, in approximately 1,000 nonmetastatic breast tumors, LIFR expression status correlated with metastasis-free, recurrence-free and overall survival outcomes in the patients. These findings identify LIFR as a metastasis suppressor that functions through the Hippo-YAP pathway and has significant prognostic power.
Akt kinase plays a central role in cell growth, metabolism and tumorigenesis. Although TRAF6 E3 ligase orchestrates IGF-1-mediated Akt ubiquitination and activation, it is unclear whether TRAF6 is involved in Akt activation by other growth factor receptors as well. Here we show that Akt ubiquitination is also induced by activation of ErbB receptors; unexpectedly, Skp2 SCF complex, but not TRAF6, is a critical E3 ligase for ErbB receptor-mediated Akt ubiquitination and membrane recruitment. Interestingly, Skp2 deficiency impairs Akt activation, Glut1 expression, glucose uptake and glycolysis, and breast cancer progression in various tumor models. Moreover, Skp2 overexpression correlates with Akt activation, breast cancer metastasis, and serves as a marker for poor prognosis in Her2-positive patients. Finally, we showed that Skp2 silencing sensitizes Her2-overexpressing tumors to Herceptin treatment. Our study suggests that distinct E3 ligases are utilized by diverse growth factors for Akt ubiquitination and activation.
Sodium/glucose co-transporter 1 (SGLT1), which actively and energy-dependently uptakes glucose, plays critical roles in the development of various diseases including diabetes mellitus and cancer, and has been viewed as a promising therapeutic target for these diseases. Protein-protein interaction with EGFR has been shown to regulate the expression and activity of SGLT1. Exogenous expression of SGLT1 is one of the essential approaches to characterize its functions; however, exogenously expressed SGLT1 is not firmly detectable by Western blot at its calculated molecular weight, which creates a hurdle for further understanding the molecular events by which SGLT1 is regulated. In this study, we demonstrated that exogenous SGLT1 functions in glucose-uptake normally but is consistently detected near the interface between stacking gel and running gel rather than at the calculated molecular weight in Western blot analysis, suggesting that the overexpressed SGLT1 forms SDS-resistant aggregates, which cannot be denatured and effectively separated on SDS-PAGE. Co-expression of EGFR enhances both the glucose-uptake activity and protein level of the SGLT1. However, fusion with Flag or HA tag at its carboxy- but not its amino-terminus abolished the glucose-uptake activity of exogenous SGLT1 without affecting its protein level. Furthermore, the solubility of SGLT1 aggregates was not affected by other detergents but was partially improved by inhibition of o-link glycosylation. These findings suggested exogenous overexpression of SGLT1 can function normally but may not be consistently detectable at its formula weight due to its gel-shift behavior by forming the SDS-resistant aggregates.
Sodium/glucose cotranspoter 1; epidermal growth factor receptor; protein aggregation; glucose uptake; o-link glycosylation
Metastasis-associated protein 1 (MTA1), a master chromatin modifier, has been shown to regulate cancer progression and is widely upregulated in human cancer including, hepatitis B virus-associated hepatocellular carcinomas (HCC). Here we provide evidence that hepatitis B virus transactivator protein HBx stimulates the expression of MTA1 but not MTA2 or MTA3. The underlying mechanism of HBx stimulation of MTA1 involves HBx targeting of transcription factor NF-κB and the recruitment of HBx/p65 complex to the NF-κB -consensus motif on the relaxed MTA1 gene chromatin. We also discovered that MTA1 depletion in HBx-expressing cells severely impairs the ability of HBx to stimulate NF-κB signaling and the expression of target pro-inflammatory molecules. Furthermore the presence of HBx in HBx-infected hepatocellular carcinomas correlated well with increased MTA1 and NF-κB-p65. Collectively, these findings revealed a previously unrecognized integral role of MTA1 in HBx stimulation of NF-κB signaling and consequently, the expression of NF-κB targets gene products with functions in inflammation and tumorigenesis.
MTA1; hepatitis B virus; HBx; signaling; MTA coregulator; liver cancer
IκB kinase (IKK) complex, the master kinase for NF-κB activation, contains two kinase subunits, IKKα and IKKβ. In addition to mediating NF-κB signaling by phosphorylating IκB proteins during inflammatory and immune responses, the activation of the IKK complex also responds to various stimuli to regulate diverse functions independently of NF-κB. Although these two kinases share structural and biochemical similarities, different sub-cellular localization and phosphorylation targets between IKKα and IKKβ account for their distinct physiological and pathological roles. While IKKβ is predominantly cytoplasmic, IKKα has been found to shuttle between the cytoplasm and the nucleus. The nuclear-specific roles of IKKα have brought increasing complexity to its biological function. This review highlights major advances in the studies of the nuclear functions of IKKα and the mechanisms of IKKα nuclear translocation. Understanding the nuclear activity is essential for targeting IKKα for therapeutics.
Nuclear IKKα; NF-κB; Gene transcription; Tumor progression
Gene therapy trials in human breast, ovarian, and head and neck tumors indicate that adenovirus E1A can sensitize cancer cells to the cytotoxic effects of paclitaxel in vitro and in vivo. Resistance to paclitaxel has been reported to occur in cells expressing low levels of the Forkhead transcription factor FOXO3a. Here we report that FOXO3a is critical for E1A-mediated chemosensitization to paclitaxel. RNAi-mediated knockdown of FOXO3a abolished E1A-induced sensitivity to paclitaxel. Mechanistic investigations indicated that E1A indirectly stabilized FOXO3a by acting at an intermediate step to inhibit a ubiquitin-dependent proteolysis pathway involving the E3 ligase βTrCP and the FOXO3a inhibitory kinase IKKβ. E1A derepressed this inhibitory pathway by stimulating expression of the PP2A/C protein phosphatases, which by binding to the TGFβ-activated kinase TAK1 inhibited its ability to activate IKKβ and thereby to suppress βTrCP-mediated degradation of FOXO3a. In this manner, by stimulating PP2A/C expression, E1A triggers a signaling cascade that stabilizes FOXO3a and mediates chemosensitization. Our findings provide a leap forward in understanding paclitaxel chemosensization by E1A, and offer a mechanistic rational to apply E1A gene therapy as an adjuvant for improving therapeutic outcomes in patients receiving paclitaxel treatment.
E1A; FOXO3a; breast cancer; PP2A/C; Chemosensitization
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are involved in multiple biological activities as well as disease progression including cancer. Interestingly, miRNAs could act as either tumor suppressors or oncogenes depending on the functions of their targets. Using high-throughput profiling, dysregulation of miRNAs has been widely observed in different stages of cancer, and there is mounting evidence demonstrating several misguided mechanisms that cause miRNA dysregulation. In this review, we summarize the key functions of miRNAs in cancer, especially those affecting tumor metastasis and drug resistance. Moreover, the mechanisms leading to dysregulation of miRNAs, including genomic abnormalities, DNA/histone modifications, transcriptional regulation, abnormal biogenesis, and interaction between miRNAs, are also discussed.
Cancer progression; miRNA biogenesis; miRNA dysregulation
Epigenetic regulation plays an important role in stem cell self-renewal, maintenance and lineage differentiation. The epigenetic profiles of stem cells are related to their transcriptional signature. Enhancer of Zeste homlog 2 (EZH2), a catalytic subunit of epigenetic regulator Polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2), has been shown to be a key regulator in controlling cellular differentiation. EZH2 is a histone methyltransferase that not only methylates histone H3 on Lys 27 (H3K27me3) but also interacts with and recruits DNA methyltransferases to methylate CpG at certain EZH2 target genes to establish firm repressive chromatin structures, contributing to tumor progression and the regulation of development and lineage commitment both in embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and adult stem cells. In addition to its well-recognized epigenetic gene silencing function, EZH2 also directly methylates nonhistone targets such as the cardiac transcription factor, GATA4, resulting in attenuated GATA4 transcriptional activity and gene repression. This review addresses recent progress toward the understanding of the biological functions and regulatory mechanisms of EZH2 and its targets as well as their roles in stem cell maintenance and cell differentiation.
EZH2; polycomb repressive complex; embryonic stem cells; adult stem cells; chromatin modification; methylation
Less than 50% of ovarian cancers respond to paclitaxel. Effective strategies are needed to enhance paclitaxel sensitivity.
A library of silencing RNAs (siRNAs) was used to identify kinases that regulate paclitaxel sensitivity in human ovarian cancer SKOv3 cells. The effect of dasatinib, an inhibitor of Src and Abl kinases, on paclitaxel sensitivity was measured in ovarian cancer cells and HEY xenografts. The roles of p27Kip1, Bcl-2, and Cdk1 in apoptosis induced by dasatinib and paclitaxel were assessed using a terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase–mediated dUTP nick-end labeling (TUNEL) assay, siRNA knockdown of gene expression, transfection with Bcl-2 and Cdk1 expression vectors, and flow cytometry. All statistical tests were two-sided.
Src family and Abl kinases were identified as modulators of paclitaxel sensitivity in SKOv3 cells. The siRNA knockdown of Src, Fyn, or Abl1 enhanced paclitaxel-mediated growth inhibition in ovarian cancer cells compared with a control siRNA. HEY cells treated with dasatinib plus paclitaxel formed fewer colonies than did cells treated with either agent alone. Treatment of HEY xenograft–bearing mice with dasatinib plus paclitaxel inhibited tumor growth more than treatment with either agent alone (average tumor volume per mouse, dasatinib + paclitaxel vs paclitaxel: 0.28 vs 0.81 cm3, difference = 0.53 cm3, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.44 to 0.62 cm3, P = .014); dasatinib + paclitaxel vs dasatinib: 0.28 vs 0.55 cm3, difference = 0.27 cm3, 95% CI = 0.21 to 0.33 cm3, P = .035). Combined treatment induced more TUNEL-positive apoptotic cells than did either agent alone. The siRNA knockdown of p27Kip1 decreased dasatinib- and paclitaxel-induced apoptosis compared with a negative control siRNA (sub-G1 fraction, control siRNA vs p27Kip1 siRNA: 42.5% vs 20.1%, difference = 22.4%, 95% CI = 20.1% to 24.7%, P = .017). Studies with forced expression and siRNA knockdown of Bcl-2 and Cdk1 suggest that dasatinib-mediated induction of p27Kip1 enhanced paclitaxel-induced apoptosis by negatively regulating Bcl-2 and Cdk1 expression.
Inhibition of Src family and Abl kinases with either siRNAs or dasatinib enhances paclitaxel sensitivity of ovarian cancer cells through p27Kip1-mediated suppression of Bcl-2 and Cdk1 expression.
Breast cancer initiating cells (BCICs), which can fully recapitulate the tumor origin and are often resistant to chemo- and radiotherapy, are currently considered as a major obstacle for breast cancer treatment. Here, we show that BIKDD, a constitutively active mutant form of proapoptotic gene, BIK, effectively induces apoptosis of breast cancer cells and synergizes with lapatinib. Most importantly, BikDD significantly reduced BCICs through co-antagonism of its binding partners Bcl-2, Bcl-xL and Mcl-1, suggesting a potential therapeutic strategy targeting BCICs. Furthermore, we developed a cancer-specific targeting approach for breast cancer that selectively expresses BikDD in breast cancer cells including BCICs, and demonstrated its potent antitumor activity and synergism with lapatinib in vitro and in vivo.
Several antiangiogenic drugs targeting VEGF/VEGFR approved by the FDA for many cancer types including colorectal and lung cancer can effectively reduce tumor growth. However, targeting the VEGF signaling pathway will likely influence the normal function of endothelial cells in maintaining homeostasis and cause unwanted adverse effects. Indeed, emerging experimental evidence suggests that VEGF-targeting therapy induced less tumor cell–specific cytotoxicity, allowing residual cells to become more resistant and eventually develop a more malignant phenotype. We report an antitumor therapeutic EndoCD fusion protein developed by linking endostatin (Endo) to cytosine deaminase and uracil phosphoribosyl transferase (CD). Specifically, Endo possesses tumor antiangiogenesis activity that targets tumor endothelial cells, followed by CD, which converts the nontoxic prodrug 5-fluorocytosine (5-FC) to the cytotoxic antitumor drug 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) in the local tumor area. Moreover, selectively targeting of tumor sites allows an increasing local intratumoral concentration of 5-FU, thus providing high levels of cytotoxic activity. We demonstrated that treatment with EndoCD plus 5-FC, compared with bevacizumab plus 5-FU treatment significantly increased the 5-FU concentration around tumor sites and suppressed tumor growth and metastasis in human breast and colorectal orthotropic animal models. In addition, in contrast to treatment with bevacizumab/5-FU, EndoCD/5-FC did not induce cardiotoxicity leading to heart failure in mice after long-term treatment. Our results showed that compared with currently used antiangiogenic drugs, EndoCD possesses potent anticancer activity with virtually no toxic effects and does not increase tumor invasion or metastasis. Together, these findings suggest that EndoCD/5-FC could become an alternative option for future antiangiogenesis therapy.
antiangiogenesis; bevacizumab; chemotherapy; 5-fluorouracil; endothelial cell-targeting
Constitutive Kras and NF-κB activation is identified as signature alterations in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). However, how NF-κB is activated in PDAC is not yet understood. Here, we report that pancreas-targeted IKK2/β inactivation inhibited NF-κB activation and PDAC development in KrasG12D and KrasG12D;Ink4a/ArfF/F mice, demonstrating a mechanistic link between IKK2/β and KrasG12D in PDAC inception. Our findings reveal that KrasG12D-activated AP-1 induces IL-1α, which, in turn, activates NF-κB and its target genes IL-1α and p62, to initiate IL-1α/p62 feedforward loops for inducing and sustaining NF-κB activity. Furthermore, IL-1α overexpression correlates with Kras mutation, NF-κB activity, and poor survival in PDAC patients. Therefore, our findings demonstrate the mechanism by which IKK2/β/NF-κB is activated by KrasG12D through dual feedforward loops of IL-1α/p62.
Accumulating evidence suggests that various diseases, including many types of cancer, result from alteration of subcellular protein localization and compartmentalization. Therefore, it is worthwhile to expand our knowledge in subcellular trafficking of proteins, such as epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and ErbB-2 of the receptor tyrosine kinases, which are highly expressed and activated in human malignancies and frequently correlated with poor prognosis. The well-characterized trafficking of cell surface EGFR is routed, via endocytosis and endosomal sorting, to either the lysosomes for degradation or back to the plasma membrane for recycling. A novel nuclear mode of EGFR signaling pathway has been gradually deciphered in which EGFR is shuttled from the cell surface to the nucleus after endocytosis, and there, it acts as a transcriptional regulator, transmits signals, and is involved in multiple biological functions, including cell proliferation, tumor progression, DNA repair and replication, and chemo- and radio-resistance. Internalized EGFR can also be transported from the cell surface to several intracellular compartments, such as the Golgi apparatus, the endoplasmic reticulum, and the mitochondria, in addition to the nucleus. In this review, we will summarize the functions of nuclear EGFR family and the potential pathways by which EGFR is trafficked from the cell surface to a variety of cellular organelles. A better understanding of the molecular mechanism of EGFR trafficking will shed light on both the receptor biology and potential therapeutic targets of anti-EGFR therapies for clinical application.
EGFR family receptors; Nuclear translocation; Subcellular trafficking
With rapid development of sequencing technologies such as deep sequencing and whole genome high-density tiling array, we now know that most of the “junk” genomic sequences are transcribed as non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs). A large number of long ncRNA transcripts (> 200bp) have been identified, and these long ncRNAs (LncRNAs) are found to be crucial regulators for epigenetic modulation, transcription, and translation. In this review, we briefly summarize the regulatory function of LncRNAs with a particular focus on the underlying mechanisms of LncRNAs in oncogenesis, tumor metastasis and suppression.
Long non-coding RNA (LncRNA); epigenetic regulation; competitive endogenous RNA (ceRNA); oncogenic lncRNA; pseudogene transcript; natural antisense RNA (NAT)
EGF activates NF-κB and constitutively activated NF-κB contributes to EGFR mutation-associated tumorigenesis, but it remains unclear precisely how EGFR signaling leads to NF-κB activation. Here we report that CARMA3, a Caspase Recruitment Domain (CARD)-containing scaffold molecule, is required for EGF-induced NF-κB activation. CARMA3 deficiency impaired the activation of the IKK complex following EGF stimulation, resulting in a defect of EGF-induced IκBα phosphorylation and NF-κB activation. We found that CARMA3 and Bcl10 contributed to several characteristics of EGFR-associated malignancy, including proliferation, survival, migration, and invasion. Most importantly, CARMA3 contributed to tumor growth in vivo. Our findings elucidate a crucial link between EGFR-proximal signaling components and the downstream IKK complex, and they suggest a new therapeutic target for treatment of EGFR-driven cancers.
EGF; NF-κB; cancer cell growth; CARMA3; Bcl10
It has been proposed that an aggressive secondary cancer stem cell population arises from a primary cancer stem cell population through acquisition of additional genetic mutations and drives cancer progression. Overexpression of Polycomb protein EZH2, essential in stem cell self-renewal, has been linked to breast cancer progression. However, critical mechanism linking increased EZH2 expression to BTIC (breast tumor initiating cell) regulation and cancer progression remains unclear. Here, we identify a mechanism in which EZH2 expression-mediated downregulation of DNA damage repair leads to accumulation of recurrent RAF1 gene amplification in BTICs, which activates p-ERK-β-catenin signaling to promote BTIC expansion. We further reveal that AZD6244, a clinical trial drug that inhibits RAF1-ERK signaling, could prevent breast cancer progression by eliminating BTICs.
Alteration of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is involved in various human cancers and has been intensively investigated. A plethora of evidence demonstrates that posttranslational modifications of EGFR play a pivotal role in controlling its function and metabolism. Here, we show that EGFR can be acetylated by CREB binding protein (CBP) acetyltransferase. Interestingly, EGFR acetylation affects its tyrosine phosphorylation, which may contribute to cancer cell resistance to histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACIs). Since there is an increasing interest in using HDACIs to treat various cancers in the clinic, our current study provides insights and rationale for selecting effective therapeutic regimen. Consistent with the previous reports, we also show that HDACI combined with EGFR inhibitors achieves better therapeutic outcomes and provides a molecular rationale for the enhanced effect of combination therapy. Our results unveil a critical role of EGFR acetylation that regulates EGFR function, which may have an important clinical implication.
The proliferation cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) is a critical protein required for DNA replication in proliferating cells including cancer cells. However, direct inhibition of PCNA in cancer cells has been difficult due to the lack of targetable sites. We previously reported that phosphorylation of tyrosine 211 (Y211) on PCNA is important for the proliferative function of PCNA when this protein is associated with the chromatin in cancer cells. Here, we show that the Y211 phosphorylation of PCNA is a frequent event in advanced prostate cancer. To explore the potential of this signaling event in inhibition of cancer cell growth, we used a synthetic peptide, the Y211F peptide, which when present inhibits phosphorylation of Y211 on endogenous PCNA. Treatment with this peptide, but not a scrambled control peptide, resulted in S-phase arrest, inhibition of DNA synthesis, and enhanced cell death in a panel of human prostate cancer cell lines. In addition, treatment with the Y211F peptide led to decreased tumor growth in PC3-derived xenograft tumors in vivo in nude mice. Our study shows for the first time that PCNA phosphorylation at Y211 is a frequent and biologically important signaling event in prostate cancer. This study also shows a proof of concept that Y211 phosphorylation of PCNA may be used as a therapeutic target in prostate cancer cells, including cells of advanced cancers that are refractory to standard hormonal therapies.
The ubiquitin–proteasome system is essential for multiple physiological processes via selective degradation of target proteins and has been shown to plays a critical role in human cancer. Activation of oncogenic factors and inhibition of tumor suppressors have been shown to be essential for cancer development, and protein ubiquitination has been linked to the regulation of oncogenic factors and tumor suppressors. Three kinases, AKT, extracellular signal-regulated kinase, and IκB kinase, we refer to as oncokinases, are activated in multiple human cancers. We and others have identified several key downstream targets that are commonly regulated by these oncokinases, some of which are regulated directly or indirectly via ubiquitin-mediated proteasome degradation, including FOXO3, β-catenin, myeloid cell leukemia-1, and Snail. In this review, we summarize these findings from our and other groups and discuss potential future studies and applications in the clinic.
AKT; ERK; IKK; FOXO3; β-catenin; Mcl-1; snail