TRIM11 (tripartite motif-containing protein 11), an E3 ubiquitin ligase, is known to be involved in the development of the central nervous system. However, very little is known regarding the role of TRIM11 in cancer biology. Here, we examined the expression profile of TRIM11, along with two stem cell markers CD133 and nestin, in multiple glioma patient specimens, glioma primary cultures derived from tumors taken at surgery, and normal neural stem/progenitor cells (NSCs). The oncogenic function of TRIM11 in glioma biology was investigated by knockdown and/or over-expression in vitro and in vivo experiments. Our results showed that TRIM11 expression levels were up-regulated in malignant glioma specimens and in high-grade glioma-derived primary cultures, while remaining low in glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) stable cell lines, low-grade glioma-derived primary cultures, and NSCs. The expression pattern of TRIM11 strongly correlated with that of CD133 and nestin, and differentiation status of malignant glioma cells. Knockdown of TRIM11 inhibited proliferation, migration and invasion of GBM cells, significantly decreased EGFR levels and MAPK activity, and down-regulated HB-EGF mRNA levels. Meanwhile, TRIM11 over-expression promoted a stem-like phenotype in vitro (tumorsphere formation) and enhanced glial tumor growth in immunocompromised mice. These findings suggest that TRIM11 might be an indicator of glioma malignancy, and has an oncogenic function mediated through the EGFR signaling pathway. TRIM11 over-expression potentially leads to a more aggressive glioma phenotype, along with increased malignant tumor growth and poor survival. Taken together, clarification of the biological function of TRIM11 and pathways it affects may provide novel therapeutic strategies for treating malignant glioma patients.
TRIM11; oncogene; EGFR; malignant glioma; tumor formation
The BRCA1 tumor suppressor protein heterodimerizes with its partner protein, BARD1, via the RING domain present in both proteins. The heterodimer contains an E3 ubiquitin ligase activity and participates in multiple cellular functions such as cell cycle control, DNA repair and regulation of gene transcription, collectively aimed at maintaining genomic stability and tumor suppression. Yet, the precise role of BRCA1 E3 ligase in these cellular functions is poorly understood. We present data showing that BRCA1 ubiquitinates G2/M cell cycle proteins, cyclin B and Cdc25C, leading to their accelerated degradation via a mechanism which is independent of APC/C. BRCA1-dependent degradation of cyclin B and Cdc25C is reversed by proteasome inhibitors and is enhanced following DNA damage, which may represent a possible mechanism to prevent cyclin B and Cdc25C accumulation, a requirement for mitotic entry. Our data provides mechanistic insight into how BRCA1 E3 ligase activity regulates the G2/M cell cycle checkpoint and thus, contributes to maintenance of genomic stability.
BRCA1; cyclin B; Cdc25; ubiquitination; proteasome; G2/M cell cycle checkpoint
Cancer cells typically display altered glucose metabolism characterized by a preference of aerobic glycolysis, known as the Warburg effect, which facilitates cell proliferation. Hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) and oncoprotein Myc are two prominent transcription factors that drive glycolysis. Previously we reported that the estrogen-related receptors (ERRs) act as cofactors of HIF and enhance HIF-dependent transcription of glycolytic genes under hypoxia. ERRs are orphan nuclear receptors and key regulators of energy metabolism by orchestrating mitochondrial biogenesis, fatty acid oxidation (FAO), and oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS). Here we show that ERRs also stimulate glycolysis under normoxia. ERRs directly bind to and activate promoters of many genes encoding glycolytic enzymes, and the ERR-binding sites in such promoters are essential for ERR-mediated transcriptional activation. ERRs interact with Myc, and the two factors synergistically activate transcription of glycolytic genes. Furthermore, overexpression of ERRs increases glycolytic gene expression and lactate production. Conversely, depletion of ERRs in cancer cells reduces expression of glycolytic genes and glucose uptake, resulting in decreased aerobic glycolysis and cell growth. Taken together, these results suggest that ERRs are important transcriptional activators of the glycolytic pathway and contribute to the Warburg effect in cancer cells.
aerobic glycolysis; Warburg effect; nuclear receptor; Randle cycle
Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) and its receptor (c-Met) are associated with cancer cell motility and invasiveness. p21-activated kinase 4 (PAK4), a potential therapeutic target, is recruited to and activated by c-Met. In response, PAK4 phosphorylates LIM kinase 1 (LIMK1) in an HGF-dependent manner in metastatic prostate carcinoma cells. PAK4 overexpression is known to induce increased cell migration speed but the requirement for kinase activity has not been established. We have used a panel of PAK4 truncations and mutations in a combination of over-expression and RNAi rescue experiments to determine the requirement for PAK4 kinase activity during carcinoma cell motility downstream of HGF. We find that neither the kinase domain alone nor a PAK4 mutant unable to bind Cdc42 is able to fully rescue cell motility in a PAK4-deficient background. Nevertheless, we find that PAK4 kinase activity and associated LIMK1 activity are essential for carcinoma cell motility, highlighting PAK4 as a potential anti-metastatic therapeutic target. We also show here that overexpression of PAK4 harboring a somatic mutation, E329K, increased the HGF-driven motility of metastatic prostate carcinoma cells. E329 lies within the G-loop region of the kinase. Our data suggest E329K mutation leads to a modest increase in kinase activity conferring resistance to competitive ATP inhibitors in addition to promoting cell migration. The existence of such a mutation may have implications for the development of PAK4-specific competitive ATP inhibitors should PAK4 be further explored for clinical inhibition.
Metastatic cell migration and invasion are regulated by altered adhesion-mediated signaling to the actin-based cytoskeleton via activated Src-FAK complexes. SSeCKS (the rodent orthologue of human Gravin/AKAP12), whose expression is downregulated by oncogenic Src and in many human cancers, antagonizes oncogenic Src pathways including those driving neovascularization at metastatic sites, metastatic cell motility and invasiveness. This is likely manifested through its function as a scaffolder of F-actin and signaling proteins such as cyclins, calmodulin, protein kinase (PK) C and PKA. Here, we show that in contrast to its ability to inhibit haptotaxis, SSeCKS increased prostate cancer cell adhesion to fibronectin (FN) and type I collagen in a FAK-dependent manner, correlating with a relative increase in FAKpoY397 levels. In contrast, SSeCKS suppressed adhesion-induced Src activation (SrcpoY416) and phosphorylation of FAK at Y925, a known Src substrate site. SSeCKS also induced increased cell spreading, cell flattening, integrin β1 clustering and formation of mature focal adhesion plaques. An in silico analysis identified a Src-binding domain on SSeCKS (a.a.153–166) that is homologous to the Src binding domain of Caveolin-1, and this region is required for SSeCKS-Src interaction, for SSeCKS-enhanced Src activity and sequestration to lipid rafts, and for SSeCKS-enhanced adhesion of MAT-LyLu and CWR22Rv1 prostate cancer cells. Our data suggest a model in which SSeCKS suppresses oncogenic motility by sequestering Src to caveolin-rich lipid rafts, thereby disengaging Src from FAK-associated adhesion and signaling complexes.
Src; SSeCKS/Gravin/AKAP12; FAK; caveolin-1; adhesion; actin-based cytoskeleton
Cancer arises as the consequence of mutations and epigenetic alterations that activate oncogenes and inactivate tumor suppressor genes. Through a genome-wide screen for methylated genes in colon neoplasms, we identified aberrantly methylated RET in colorectal cancer. RET, a transmembrane receptor tyrosine kinase and a receptor for the GDNF-family ligands, was one of the first oncogenes to be identified and has been shown to be an oncogene in thyroid cancer and pheochromocytoma. However, unexpectedly, we found RET is methylated in 27% of colon adenomas and in 63% of colorectal cancers, and now provide evidence that RET has tumor suppressor activity in colon cancer. The aberrant methylation of RET correlates with decreased RET expression, whereas the restoration of RET in colorectal cancer cell lines results in apoptosis. Furthermore, in support of a tumor suppressor function of RET, mutant RET has also been found in primary colorectal cancer. We now show that these mutations inactivate RET, which is consistent with RET being a tumor suppressor gene in the colon. These findings suggest that the aberrant methylation of RET and the mutational inactivation of RET promote colorectal cancer formation and that RET can serve as a tumor suppressor gene in the colon. Moreover, the increased frequency of methylated RET in colon cancers compared to adenomas suggests RET inactivation is involved in the progression of colon adenomas to cancer.
colon neoplasia; methylation; RET
Protein tyrosine phosphatase non-receptor type 14 (PTPN14) is frequently mutated in a variety of human cancers. However, the cell signaling pathways regulated by PTPN14 largely remain to be elucidated. Here, we identify a list of potential substrates of PTPN14 using a phospho-proteomic approach. We show that p130Cas is a direct substrate of PTPN14 and that PTPN14 specifically regulates p130Cas phosphorylation at tyrosine residue 128 (Y128) in colorectal cancer (CRC) cells. We engineered CRC cells homozygous for a p130Cas Y128F knock-in mutant and found that these cells exhibit significantly reduced migration and colony formation, impaired anchorage-independent growth, slower xenograft tumor growth in nude mice, and have decreased phosphorylation of AKT. Furthermore, we demonstrate that SRC phosphorylates p130Cas Y128 and that CRC cell lines harboring high levels of pY128 Cas are more sensitive to SRC family kinase inhibitor Dasatinib. These findings suggest that p130Cas Y128 phosphorylation may be exploited as a predictive marker for Dasatinib response in cancer patients. In aggregate, our studies reveal a novel signaling pathway that plays an important role in colorectal tumorigenesis.
PTPN14; p130Cas; tumorigenesis; colorectal cancer
The cyclin dependent kinase inhibitor p27 is a key regulator of cell cycle progression. Its expression and localization are altered in several types of malignancies, which has prognostic significance in cancers such as renal cell carcinoma (RCC). S-phase kinase associated protein 2 (SKP-2) is an F-box protein that is part of the SKP1/Cul1/F-box (SCF) ubiquitin ligase complex that targets nuclear p27 among many other cell cycle proteins for proteosomal degradation. Its overexpression has been observed in several tumor types. Signaling by phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/protein kinase B (AKT) has previously been shown to regulate the SKP-2/p27 axis. Recent evidence suggests that PI3K signaling may activate mTOR complex 2 (mTORC2) activity. As PI3K signaling is known to regulate SKP-2 and p27, we sought to determine whether these effects were mediated by mTORC2. Here, we provide additional genetic evidence that PI3K signaling activates mTORC2 kinase activity. We also demonstrate a novel role for mTORC2 in the modulation of nuclear p27 levels. In particular, mTORC2 signaling promotes the reduction of nuclear p27 protein levels through the increased protein expression of SKP-2. These are the first data to demonstrate a role for mTOR in the regulation of SKP-2. In concordance with these findings, mTORC2 activity promotes cell proliferation of RCC cells at the G1-S interphase of the cell cycle. Collectively, these data implicate mTORC2 signaling in the regulation of the SKP-2/p27 axis, a signaling node commonly altered in cancer.
p27; SKP-2; mTOR; RICTOR
Intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC) is an aggressive malignancy with very poor prognosis. Genome-wide, high-throughput technologies have made major advances in understanding the molecular basis of this disease, although important mechanisms are still unclear. Recent data have revealed specific genetic mutations (for example, KRAS, IDH1 and IDH2), epigenetic silencing, aberrant signaling pathway activation (for example, interleukin (IL)-6/signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3), tyrosine kinase receptor-related pathways) and molecular subclasses with unique alterations (for example, proliferation and inflammation subclasses). In addition, some ICCs share common genomic traits with hepatocellular carcinoma. All this information provides the basis to explore novel targeted therapies. Currently, surgery at early stage is the only effective therapy. At more advanced stages, chemotherapy regimens are emerging (that is, cisplatin plus gemcitabine), along with molecular targeted agents tested in several ongoing clinical trials. Nonetheless, a first-line conclusive treatment remains an unmet need. Similarly, there are no studies assessing tumor response related with genetic alterations. This review explores the recent advancements in the knowledge of the molecular alterations underlying ICC and the future prospects in terms of therapeutic strategies leading towards a more personalized treatment of this neoplasm.
cholangiocarcinoma; molecular pathogenesis; targeted therapies
Plexin C1 is a type I transmembrane receptor with intrinsic R-Ras GTPase activity, which regulates cytoskeletal remodeling and adhesion in normal human melanocytes. Melanocytes are pigment-producing cells of the epidermis, precursors for melanoma, and express high levels of Plexin C1, which is lost in melanoma in vitro and in vivo. To determine if Plexin C1 is a tumor suppressor for melanoma, we introduced Plexin C1 into a primary human melanoma cell line, and phenotypes including migration, apoptosis, proliferation and tumor growth in mice were analyzed. Complimentary studies in which Plexin C1 was silenced in human melanocytes were performed. Plexin C1 significantly inhibited migration and proliferation in melanoma, whereas in melanocytes, loss of Plexin C1 increased migration and proliferation. In mouse xenografts, Plexin C1 delayed tumor growth of melanoma at early time points, but tumors eventually escaped the suppressive effects of Plexin C1, due to Plexin C1-dependent activation of the pro-survival protein Akt. R-Ras activation stimulates melanoma migration. Plexin C1 lowered R-Ras activity in melanoma and melanocytes, consistent with inhibitory effects of Plexin C1 on migration of melanocytes and melanoma. To determine if R-Ras is expressed in melanocytic lesions in vivo, staining of tissue microarrays of nevi and melanoma were performed. R-Ras expression was highly limited in melanocytic lesions, being essentially confined to primary melanoma, and almost completely absent in nevi and metastatic melanoma. These data suggest that loss of Plexin C1 in melanoma may promote early steps in melanoma progression through suppression of migration and proliferation, but pro-survival effects of Plexin C1 ultimately abrogate the tumor suppressive effects of Plexin C1. In primary melanoma, loss of Plexin C1 may function in early steps of melanoma progression by releasing inhibition of R-Ras activation, and stimulating migration.
melanoma; semaphorin; plexin; R-Ras; melanocyte
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is one of the most lethal cancers owing to a number of characteristics including difficulty in establishing early diagnosis and the absence of effective therapeutic regimens. A large number of genetic alterations have been ascribed to PDAC with mutations in the KRAS2 proto-oncogene thought to be an early event in the progression of disease. Recent lineage-tracing studies have shown that acinar cells expressing mutant KrasG12D are induced to transdifferentiate, generating duct-like cells through a process known as acinar-ductal metaplasia (ADM). ADM lesions then convert to precancerous pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PanIN) that progresses to PDAC over time. Thus, understanding the earliest events involved in ADM/PanIN formation would provide much needed information on the molecular pathways that are instrumental in initiating this disease. Since studying the transition of acinar cells to metaplastic ductal cells in vivo is complicated by analysis of the entire organ, an in vitro 3D culture system was employed to model ADM outside the animal. KrasG12D-expressing acinar cells rapidly underwent ADM in 3D culture, forming ductal cysts that silenced acinar genes and activated duct genes, characteristics associated with in vivo ADM/PanIN lesions. Analysis of downstream KRAS signaling events established a critical importance for the Raf/MEK/ERK pathway in ADM induction. Additionally, forced expression of the acinar-restricted transcription factor Mist1, which is critical to acinar cell organization, significantly attenuated KrasG12D-induced ADM/PanIN formation. These results suggest that maintaining MIST1 activity in KrasG12D-expressing acinar cells can partially mitigate the transformation activity of oncogenic KRAS. Future therapeutics that target both the MAPK pathway and Mist1 transcriptional networks may show promising efficacy in combating this deadly disease.
Mist1; pancreatic cancer; lineage-tracing; signaling pathways; 3D tissue culture
Adhesion to the extracellular matrix (ECM) is critical for epithelial tissue homeostasis and function. ECM detachment induces metabolic stress and programmed cell death via anoikis. ECM-detached mammary epithelial cells are able to rapidly activate autophagy allowing for survival and an opportunity for re-attachment. However, the mechanisms controlling detachment-induced autophagy remain unclear. Here we uncover that the kinase PERK rapidly promotes autophagy in ECM-detached cells by activating AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), resulting in downstream inhibition of mTORC1-p70S6K signaling. LKB1 and TSC2, but not TSC1, are required for PERK-mediated inhibition of mammalian target of rapamycinin MCF10A cells and mouse embryo fibroblast cells. Importantly, this pathway shows fast kinetics, is transcription-independent and is exclusively activated during ECM detachment, but not by canonical endoplasmic reticulum stressors. Moreover, enforced PERK or AMPK activation upregulates autophagy and causes luminal filling during acinar morphogenesis by perpetuating a population of surviving autophagic luminal cells that resist anoikis. Hence, we identify a novel pathway in which suspension-activated PERK promotes the activation of LKB1, AMPK and TSC2, leading to the rapid induction of detachment-induced autophagy. We propose that increased autophagy, secondary to persistent PERK and LKB1-AMPK signaling, can robustly protect cells from anoikis and promote luminal filling during early carcinoma progression.
anoikis; breast cancer; unfolded protein response
The RPS6KA6 gene encodes the p90 ribosomal S6 kinase-4 (RSK4) that is still largely uncharacterized. In this study we identified a new RSK4 transcription initiation site and several alternative splice sites with a 5’RACE approach. The resulting mRNA variants encompass four possible first start codons. The first 15 nucleotides (nt) of exon 22 in mouse and the penultimate exon in both human (exon 21) and mouse (exon 24) RSK4 underwent alternative splicing, although the penultimate exon deleted variant appeared mainly in cell clines, but not in most normal tissues. Demethylation agent 5-azacytidine inhibited the deletion of the penultimate exon whereas two indolocarbazole-derived inhibitors of cyclin dependent kinase 4 or 6 induced deletion of the first 39 nt from exon 21 of human RSK4. In all human cancer cell lines studied, the 90-kD wild type RSK4 was sparse but, surprisingly, several isoforms at or smaller than 72-kD were expressed as detected by seven different antibodies. On immunoblots, each of these smaller isoforms often appeared as a duplet or triplet and the levels of these isoforms varied greatly among different cell lines and culture conditions. Cyclin D1 inhibited RSK4 expression and serum starvation enhanced the inhibition, whereas c-Myc and RSK4 inhibited cyclin D1. The effects of RSK4 on cell growth, cell death and chemoresponse depended on the mRNA variant or the protein isoform expressed, on the specificity of the cell lines, as well as on the anchorage-dependent or -independent growth conditions and the in vivo situation. Moreover, we also observed that even a given cDNA might be expressed to multiple proteins; therefore, when using a cDNA, one needs to exclude this possibility before attribution of the biological results from the cDNA to the anticipated protein. Collectively, our results suggest that whether RSK4 is oncogenic or tumor suppressive depends on many factors.
The mechanism by which renal cell carcinoma (RCC) colonizes the lung microenvironment during metastasis remains largely unknown. To investigate this process, we grafted human RCC cells with varying lung metastatic potential in mice. Gene expression profiling of the mouse lung stromal compartment revealed a signature enriched for neutrophil-specific functions that was induced preferentially by poorly metastatic cells. Analysis of the gene expression signatures of tumor cell lines showed an inverse correlation between metastatic activity and the levels of a number of chemokines, including CXCL5 and IL8. Enforced depletion of CXCL5 and IL8 in these cell lines enabled us to establish a functional link between lung neutrophil infiltration, secretion of chemokines by cancer cells, and metastatic activity. We further show that human neutrophils display a higher cytotoxic activity against poorly metastatic cells compared to highly metastatic cells. Together, these results support a model in which neutrophils recruited to the lung by tumor-secreted chemokines build an antimetastatic barrier with loss of neutrophil chemokines in tumor cells acting as a critical rate-limiting step during lung metastatic seeding.
Here we provide the first evidence that tetraspanin CD151 can support de novo carcinogenesis. During two-stage mouse skin chemical carcinogenesis, CD151 reduces tumor lag time and increases incidence, multiplicity, size, and progression to malignant squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), while supporting both cell survival during tumor initiation and cell proliferation during the promotion phase. In human skin SCC, CD151 expression is selectively elevated compared to other skin cancer types. CD151 support of keratinocyte survival and proliferation may depend on activation of transcription factor STAT3, a regulator of cell proliferation and apoptosis. CD151 also supports PKCα-α6β4 integrin association and PKC-dependent β4 S1424 phosphorylation, while regulating α6β4 distribution. CD151-PKCα effects on integrin β4 phosphorylation and subcellular localization are consistent with epithelial disruption to a less polarized, more invasive state. CD151 ablation, while minimally affecting normal cell and normal mouse functions, markedly sensitized mouse skin and epidermoid cells to chemicals/drugs including DMBA (mutagen) and camptothecin (topoisomerase inhibitor), as well as to agents targeting EGFR, PKC, Jak2/Tyk2, and STAT3. Hence, CD151 ‘co-targeting’ may be therapeutically beneficial. These findings not only support CD151 as a potential tumor target, but also should apply to other cancers utilizing CD151-laminin-binding integrin complexes.
tetraspanin CD151; skin squamous cell carcinoma; chemical carcinogenesis; integrin α6β4; STAT3; PKCα
Under conditions of reduced tissue oxygenation, hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) controls many processes, including angiogenesis and cellular metabolism, and also influences cell proliferation and survival decisions. HIF is centrally involved in tumour growth in inherited diseases that give rise to renal cell carcinoma (RCC), such as Von Hippel–Lindau syndrome and tuberous sclerosis complex. In this study, we examined whether HIF is involved in tumour formation of RCC in Birt–Hogg–Dubé syndrome. For this, we analysed a Birt–Hogg–Dubé patient-derived renal tumour cell line (UOK257) that is devoid of the Birt–Hogg–Dubé protein (BHD) and observed high levels of HIF activity. Knockdown of BHD expression also caused a threefold activation of HIF, which was not as a consequence of more HIF1α or HIF2α protein. Transcription of HIF target genes VEGF, BNIP3 and CCND1 was also increased. We found nuclear localization of HIF1α and increased expression of VEGF, BNIP3 and GLUT1 in a chromophobe carcinoma from a Birt–Hogg–Dubé patient. Our data also reveal that UOK257 cells have high lactate dehydrogenase, pyruvate kinase and 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase activity. We observed increased expression of pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase 1 (a HIF gene target), which in turn leads to increased phosphorylation and inhibition of pyruvate dehydrogenase. Together with increased protein levels of GLUT1, our data reveal that UOK257 cells favour glycolytic rather than lipid metabolism (a cancer phenomenon termed the ‘Warburg effect’). UOK257 cells also possessed a higher expression level of the l-lactate influx monocarboxylate transporter 1 and consequently utilized l-lactate as a metabolic fuel. As a result of their higher dependency on glycolysis, we were able to selectively inhibit the growth of these UOK257 cells by treatment with 2-deoxyglucose. This work suggests that targeting glycolytic metabolism may be used therapeutically to treat Birt–Hogg–Dubé-associated renal lesions.
Birt–Hogg–Dubé; HIF; folliculin; warburg effect
Immune escape describes a critical event whereby tumor cells adopt an immunoresistant phenotype to escape adaptive surveillance. We show that expression of a pivotal negative regulator of T-cell function, B7-H1, correlates with PI(3) kinase activation in breast and prostate cancer patients. B7-H1-mediated immunoresistance can be attenuated by inhibitors of the PI(3) kinase pathway, and is dependent on S6K1-mediated translational regulation of B7-H1 protein. Breast and prostate carcinoma cells with activated PI(3) kinase lose the immunoresistant phenotype after treatment with B7-H1 siRNA. Conversely, breast and prostate carcinoma cells with minimal PI(3) kinase activation adopt an immunoresistant phenotype when engineered to overexpress B7-H1 protein. These observations describe a mechanism for immune escape from tumor dormancy in humans that relates to oncogenesis.
PI(3) kinase; B7-H1; immunoresistance; breast cancer; prostate cancer; T cell
The RE1 Silencing Transcription Factor (REST) is a repressor of neuronal differentiation and its elevated expression in neural cells blocks neuronal differentiation. In the present study, we demonstrate a role for REST in the control of proliferation of medulloblastoma cells. REST expression decreased the levels of CDKNIB/p27, a cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor and a brake of cell proliferation in these cells. The reciprocal relationship between REST and p27 was validated in human tumor samples. REST knockdown in medulloblastoma cells derepessed a novel REST-target gene encoding the deubiquitylase ubiquitin-specific peptidase 37 (USP37). Ectopically expressed wild type USP37 formed a complex with p27, promoted its deubiquitination and stabilization and blocked cell proliferation. Knockdown of REST and USP37 prevented p27 stabilization and blocked the diminution in proliferative potential that normally accompanied REST loss. Unexpectedly, wild type USP37 expression also induced the expression of REST-target neuronal differentiation genes even though REST levels were unaffected. In contrast, a mutant of USP37 carrying a site-directed change in a conserved cysteine failed to rescue REST-mediated p27 destabilization, maintenance of cell proliferation and blockade to neuronal differentiation. Consistent with these findings, a significant correlation between USP37 and p27 was observed in patient tumors. Collectively, these findings provide a novel connection between REST and the proteasomal machinery in the control of p27 and cell proliferation in medulloblastoma cells.
REST; proliferation; p27; USP37; deubiquitylase
HOTAIR is a long intervening non-coding RNA (lincRNA) that associates with the Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 (PRC2) and overexpression is correlated with poor survival for breast, colon and liver cancer patients. In this study, we show that HOTAIR expression is increased in pancreatic tumors compared to non-tumor tissue and is associated with more aggressive tumors. Knockdown of HOTAIR (siHOTAIR) by RNA interference shows that HOTAIR plays an important role in pancreatic cancer cell invasion and as reported in other cancer cell lines. In contrast, HOTAIR knockdown in Panc1 and L3.6pL pancreatic cancer cells that overexpress this lincRNA decreased cell proliferation, altered cell cycle progression, and induced apoptosis, demonstrating an expanded function for HOTAIR in pancreatic cancer cells compared to other cancer cell lines. Results of gene array studies showed that there was minimal overlap between HOTAIR-regulated genes in pancreatic vs. breast cancer cells and HOTAIR uniquely suppressed several interferon-related genes and gene sets related to cell cycle progression in pancreatic cancer cells and tumors. Analysis of selected genes suppressed by HOTAIR in Panc1 and L3.6 pL cells showed by knockdown of EZH2 and chromatin immunoprecipitation assays that HOTAIR-mediated gene repression was both PRC2-dependent and -independent. HOTAIR knockdown in L3.6pL cells inhibited tumor growth in mouse xenograft model, further demonstrating the pro-oncogenic function of HOTAIR in pancreatic cancer.
HOTAIR; invasion; cell cycle progression; pro-oncogenic; prognostic
Autophagy is a catabolic process that allows cellular macromolecules to be broken down and recycled as metabolic precursors. The influence of non-coding microRNAs (miRNAs) in autophagy has not been explored in colon cancer. In this study, we discover a novel mechanism of autophagy regulated by hsa-miR-502-5p (miR-502) by suppression of Rab1B, a critical mediator of autophagy. A number of other miR-502 suppressed mRNA targets (e.g. DHODH) are also identified by microarray analysis. Ectopic expression of miR-502 inhibited autophagy, colon cancer cell growth, and cell cycle progression of colon cancer cells in vitro. miR-502 also inhibited in vivo colon cancer growth in a mouse tumor xenografts model. In addition, the expression of miR-502 was regulated by p53 via a negative feedback regulatory mechanism. The expression of miR-502 was down-regulated in colon cancer patient specimens compared to the paired normal control samples. These results suggest that miR-502 may function as a potential tumor suppressor and therefore be a novel candidate for developing miR-502 based therapeutic strategies.
miR-502; autophagy; p53; colon cancer
TGF-β plays a dual role in epithelial malignancies, including head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). Attenuation of canonical TGF-β signaling enhances de novo tumor development, while TGF-β overexpression and signaling paradoxically promotes malignant progression. We recently observed that TGF-β-induced growth arrest response is attenuated, in association with aberrant activation of Nuclear Factor-κB (NF-κB), a transcription factor which promotes malignant progression in HNSCC. However, what role cross-talk between components of the TGF-β and NF-κB pathways plays in altered activation of these pathways has not been established. Here, we show TGF-β receptor II and TGF-β-activated kinase 1 (TAK1) are predominantly expressed in a subset of HNSCC tumors with nuclear activation of NF-κB family member RELA (p65). Further, TGF-β1 treatment induced sequential phosphorylation of TAK1, IKK, IκBα, and RELA in human HNSCC lines. TAK1 enhances TGF-β-induced NF-κB activation, as TAK1 siRNA knock-down decreased TGF-β1-induced phosphorylation of IKK, IκB, and RELA, degradation of IκBα, nuclear translocation, and DNA binding of RELA, and NF–κB-induced reporter and target gene transcription. Functionally, TAK1 siRNA inhibited cell proliferation, migration and invasion. Celastrol, a TAK1 inhibitor and anti-inflammatory used in traditional Chinese medicine, also decreased TGF-β1-induced phosphorylation of TAK1 and RELA, suppressed basal, TGF-β1- and TNFα-induced NF-κB reporter gene activity, and cell proliferation, while increasing sub-G0 DNA fragmentation and Annexin V markers of apoptosis. Furthermore, TGF-β and RELA activation promoted SMAD7 expression. In turn, SMAD7 preferentially suppressed TGF-β-induced SMAD and NF-κB reporters when compared with constitutive or TNF-α-induced NF-κB reporter gene activation. Thus, cross-talk by TGF-β via TAK1 and NF-κB promotes the malignant phenotype of HNSCC. Moreover, NF-κB may contribute to the downstream attenuation of canonical TGF-β signaling through increased SMAD7 expression. Celastrol highlights the therapeutic potential of agents targeting TAK1 as a key node in this pro-oncogenic TGF-β-NF-κB signal pathway.
TAK1; SMAD7; TGF-β; NF-κB; celastrol; head and neck cancer
Emerging evidence demonstrates that RUNX3 is a tumor suppressor in breast cancer. Inactivation of RUNX3 in mice results in spontaneous mammary gland tumors, and decreased or silenced expression of RUNX3 is frequently found in breast cancer cell lines and human breast cancer samples. However, the underlying mechanism for initiating RUNX3 inactivation in breast cancer remains elusive. Here, we identify prolyl-isomerase Pin1, which is often over-expressed in breast cancer, as a key regulator of RUNX3 inactivation. In human breast cancer cell lines and breast cancer samples, expression of Pin1 inversely correlates with the expression of RUNX3. In addition, Pin1 recognizes four phosphorylated Ser/Thr-Pro motifs in RUNX3 via its WW domain. Binding of Pin1 to RUNX3 suppresses the transcriptional activity of RUNX3. Furthermore, Pin1 reduces the cellular levels of RUNX3 in an isomerase activity-dependent manner by inducing the ubiquitination and proteasomal degradation of RUNX3. Knocking down Pin1 enhances the cellular levels and transcriptional activity of RUNX3 by inhibiting the ubiquitination and degradation of RUNX3. Our results identify Pin1 as a new regulator of RUNX3 inactivation in breast cancer.
breast cancer; degradation; Pin1; RUNX3; tumor suppressor; ubiquitination
Metastases, and not the primary tumor from which they originate, are the main reason for mortality from carcinoma. Although the molecular mechanisms behind metastasis are poorly understood, it is clear that epigenetic dysregulation at the level of microRNA expression is a key characteristic of the metastatic process that can be exploited for therapy. Here, we describe an miRNA-targeted therapeutic approach for the prevention and arrest of lymph node metastasis. Therapy relies on the inhibition of the pro-metastatic microRNA-10b. It is delivered to primary and lymph node metastatic tumor cells using an imaging-capable nanodrug that is designed to specifically home to these tissues. Treatment of invasive human breast tumor cells (MDA-MB-231) with the nanodrug in vitro downregulates miR-10b and abolishes the invasion and migration of the tumor cells. After intravenous delivery to mice bearing orthotopic MDA-MB-231-luc-D3H2LN tumors, the nanodrug accumulates in the primary tumor and lymph nodes. When treatment is initiated before metastasis to lymph nodes, metastasis is prevented. Treatment after the formation of lymph node metastases arrests the metastatic process without a concomitant effect on primary tumor growth raising the possibility of a context-dependent variation in miR-10b breast oncogenesis.
imaging; miRNA; metastasis; miR-10b; nanoparticle; therapy
Multiple SRC-family kinases (SFKs) are commonly activated in carcinoma and appear to have a role in metastasis through incompletely understood mechanisms. Recent studies have shown that CDCP1 (CUB (complement C1r/C1s, Uegf, Bmp1) Domain-Containing Protein-1) is a transmembrane protein and an SRC substrate potentially involved in metastasis. Here we show that increased SFK and CDCP1 tyrosine phosphorylation is, surprisingly, associated with a decrease in FAK phosphorylation. This appears to be true in human tumors as shown by our correlation analysis of a mass spectrometric data set of affinity-purified phosphotyrosine peptides obtained from normal and cancer lung tissue samples. Induction of tyrosine phosphorylation of CDCP1 in cell culture, including by a mAb that binds to its extracellular domain, promoted changes in SFK and FAK tyrosine phosphorylation, as well as in PKC™, a protein known to associate with CDCP1, and these changes are accompanied by increases in adhesion and motility. Thus, signaling events that accompany the CDCP1 tyrosine phosphorylation observed in cell lines and human lung tumors may explain how the CDCP1/SFK complex regulates motility and adhesion.
signaling; mass spectrometry; SRC; adhesion; motility; metastasis
The CCAAT/enhancer binding protein β (C/EBPβ) is implicated in the regulation of many different molecular and physiological processes. Mice with a germline deletion of C/EBPβ (C/EBPβ−/−) display phenotypes in a multitude of cell types and organ systems, including skin where C/EBPβ−/− mice exhibit increased apoptosis in epidermal keratinocytes in response to carcinogen treatment and are completely resistant to carcinogen-induced skin tumorigenesis. To determine the contribution of systemic versus cell autonomous functions of C/EBPβ to specific phenotypes, mice with a conditional ‘floxed’ C/EBPβ null allele were generated. Epidermal-specific deletion of C/EBPβ was achieved by Cre recombinase expression from a keratin 5 (K5) promoter. Similar to C/EBPβ−/− mice, K5-Cre;C/EBPβfl/fl mice were completely refractory to 7,12 dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA)-induced skin tumorigenesis and these mice displayed increased DMBA-induced apoptosis in epidermal keratinocytes compared to wild-type mice. In contrast, mice lacking the related gene, C/EBPδ, were not resistant to DMBA-induced skin tumorigenesis, indicating a unique role of C/EBPβ in skin tumor development. Our findings demonstrate that C/EBPβ exerts an essential, keratinocyte-intrinsic role in cell survival in response to carcinogen treatment and the elimination of C/EBPβ in keratinocytes is sufficient to confer complete resistance of the skin to chemical carcinogenesis.
C/EBP; apoptosis; carcinogenesis