Urinary bladder cancer is a common malignancy worldwide, and outcomes for patients with advanced bladder cancer remain poor. Antiproliferative factor (APF) is a potent glycopeptide inhibitor of epithelial cell proliferation that was discovered in the urine of patients with interstitial cystitis, a disorder with bladder epithelial thinning and ulceration. APF mediates its antiproliferative activity in primary normal bladder epithelial cells via cytoskeletal associated protein 4 (CKAP4). Because synthetic asialo-APF (as-APF) has also been shown to inhibit T24 bladder cancer cell proliferation at nanomolar concentrations in vitro, and because the peptide segment of APF is 100% homologous to part of frizzled 8, we determined whether CKAP4 mediates as-APF inhibition of proliferation and/or downstream Wnt/frizzled signaling events in T24 cells.
T24 cells were transfected with double-stranded siRNAs against CKAP4 and treated with synthetic as-APF or inactive control peptide; cells that did not undergo electroporation and cells transfected with non-target (scrambled) double-stranded siRNA served as negative controls. Cell proliferation was determined by 3H-thymidine incorporation. Expression of Akt, glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK3β), β-catenin, p53, and matrix metalloproteinase 2 (MMP2) mRNA was determined by quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). Akt, GSK-3β, MMP2, β-catenin, and p53 protein expression, plus Akt, GSK-3β, and β-catenin phosphorylation, were determined by Western blot.
T24 cell proliferation, MMP2 expression, Akt ser473 and thr308 phosphorylation, GSK3β tyr216 phosphorylation, and β-catenin ser45/thr41 phosphorylation were all decreased by APF, whereas p53 expression, and β-catenin ser33,37/thr41 phosphorylation, were increased by APF treatment in non-electroporated and non-target siRNA-transfected cells. Neither mRNA nor total protein expression of Akt, GSK3β, or β-catenin changed in response to APF in these cells. In addition, the changes in cell proliferation, MMP2/p53 mRNA and protein expression, and Akt/GSK3β/β-catenin phosphorylation in response to APF treatment were all specifically abrogated following CKAP4 siRNA knockdown.
Synthetic as-APF inhibits cell proliferation in T24 bladder carcinoma cells via the CKAP4 receptor. The mechanism for this inhibition involves regulating phosphorylation of specific cell signaling molecules (Akt, GSK3β, and β-catenin) plus mRNA and protein expression of p53 and MMP2.