bims-istrec Biomed News
on Integrated stress response in cancer
Issue of 2022‒06‒12
eight papers selected by
Vincenzo Ciminale’s Lab
Istituto Oncologico Veneto

  1. Biomed Pharmacother. 2022 Jun 06. pii: S0753-3322(22)00621-7. [Epub ahead of print]152 113232
      Breast cancer has surpassed lung cancer to become the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women worldwide. Sigma-2 (σ2) receptor is considered to be a potential therapeutic target for breast cancer because of its high expression in breast cancer cells and low expression in normal breast cells. Many σ2 ligands have been reported to have excellent anticancer activity, but their mechanism of action has not been fully elucidated. We discovered that A011 had high affinity and selectivity for σ2 receptor, reduced proliferation in five cancer cell lines, and significantly inhibited the monoclonal formation ability of MCF-7 cells. Furthermore, A011 rapidly increased the levels of intracellular Ca2+ and reactive oxygen species and induced autophagy. Molecular pharmacology studies revealed that A011 induced endoplasmic reticulum stress, activated the PERK-eIF2α-CHOP pathway and inhibited the activation of the PI3K-Akt-mTOR pathway, leading to cell apoptosis. In an in vivo tumor model, A011 showed obvious anti-tumor activity and no significant toxicity. More importantly, our study demonstrated for the first time that endoplasmic reticulum stress is the main mechanism of anti-cancer effects for σ2 ligands, at least for A011. A011 may potentially be useful as a therapeutic agent for treating breast cancer.
    Keywords:  Apoptosis; Autophagy; Breast cancer; Endoplasmic reticulum stress; Sigma-2 receptor
  2. Apoptosis. 2022 Jun 08.
      Chemotherapy represents one of the main conventional therapies for breast cancer. However, tumor cells develop mechanisms to evade chemotherapeutic-induced apoptosis. Thus, it is of great significance to induce non-apoptotic cell death modes, such as paraptosis, in breast cancer. Herein, a novel 8-hydroxyquinoline derivative, 5,7-dibromo-8-(methoxymethoxy)-2-methylquinoline (HQ-11), was obtained and its potential anti-breast cancer mechanisms were investigated. Our results showed that extensive cytoplasmic vacuoles derived from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and mitochondria were appeared in MCF7 and MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells by HQ-11 incubation, and pretreatment of cycloheximide was able to inhibit this vacuolation and HQ-11-induced cell death, showing the characteristics of paraptosis. ER stress was involved in HQ-11-caused paraptosis evidenced by the increase of glucose-regulated protein 78, C/EBP homologous protein and polyubiquitinated proteins. Molecular docking analysis revealed a favorable binding mode of HQ-11 in the active site of the chymotrypsin-like β5 subunit of the proteasome, indicative of proteasome dysfunction under HQ-11 treatment, which might result in further aggravated ER stress. Furthermore, treatment of HQ-11 resulted in increased phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) and c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase, and inhibition of ERK with U0126 significantly attenuated HQ-11-induced ER stress and paraptosis. In addition, exposure to HQ-11 also caused apoptosis in breast cancer cells partially through activation of ERK pathway. All these results conclusively indicate that HQ-11 triggers two distinct cell death modes via inhibition of proteasome and activation of ERK pathway in breast cancer cells, providing a promising candidate in future anti-breast cancer therapy.
    Keywords:  8-Hydroxyquinoline derivative; Apoptosis; Breast cancer; ER stress; ERK; Paraptosis
  3. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2022 ;2022 3115312
      Myricetin, a natural flavonoid, exhibits diverse biological activities, including antitumor effects. The present study aimed to investigate the effects of myricetin on hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells and explore the underlying molecular mechanisms. Our results showed that myricetin significantly inhibited cell proliferation and induced apoptosis in HCC cells. The apoptosis induced by myricetin was associated with the activation of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress. In addition, autophagy was enhanced in response to ER stress. Inhibition of autophagy by RNA interference or chemical inhibitors resulted in increased apoptosis in myricetin-treated HCC cells. The in vivo experiment also showed that myricetin effectively reduced tumor growth in an HCC xenograft model and that combination treatment with an autophagy inhibitor significantly enhanced this effect. These results indicated that myricetin induced apoptosis in HCC cells through the activation of ER stress. Protective autophagy was also upregulated during this process. Simultaneous inhibition of autophagy enhanced the anti-HCC activity of myricetin. Myricetin might be a promising drug candidate for HCC therapy, and the combined use of myricetin with autophagy inhibitors could be an effective therapeutic strategy.
  4. J Ovarian Res. 2022 Jun 07. 15(1): 69
      BACKGROUND: Dysregulation of Ectonucleoside Triphospahate Diphosphohydrolase 5 (ENTPD5) in tumors might be associated with tumor progression, while the role of ENTPD5 in the growth and metastasis of serous ovarian cancer (SOC) is still unclear.METHODS: ENTPD5 expression patterns in ovarian cancer tissues were analyzed by qRT-PCR and immunohistochemistry assay (IHC). Two SOC cell lines, SKOV3 and OVCAR8, were stably transfected with lentivirus to build knockdown and overexpression cell lines. Clone formation assay, collagen gel droplet culture technology, wound healing assay and flow cytometry were used to assess the migration and growth traits of SOC cells. Expression levels of ENTPD5, glucose regulated protein 78 (GRP78), eukaryotic translation initiation factor 2 alpha (eIF-2α), phosphorylated -eIF-2α and, C/EBP homologous protein (CHOP) in SOC cells were detected by Western blot.
    RESULTS: Compared to fallopian tube tissues, the expression of ENTPD5 was significantly higher in tumor tissues obtained from SOC patients, and positively correlated with clinical stage and metastasis. ENTPD5 knockdown robustly inhibited cell proliferation, migration, whereas ENTPD5 overexpression elicited the opposite effect on SOC cells. ENTPD5 knockdown arrested cell cycle in G0/G1 phase and increased apoptosis. Importantly, ENTPD5 knockdown was associated with significantly decreased protein levels for GRP78, CHOP, and p-eIF-2α, suggesting possible involvement of ENTPD5 in endoplasmic reticulum stress (ERS).
    CONCLUSIONS: Our study demonstrates that ENTPD5 knockdown inhibited SOC cell proliferation, migration and restrained the activation of the GRP78/p-eIF-2α/CHOP pathway, which provides a potentially effective therapeutic target for the treatment of SOC.
    Keywords:  ENTPD5; Endoplasmic reticulum stress; Migration; Proliferation; Serous ovarian cancer; Unfolded protein response
  5. J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2022 Jun 10.
      OBJECTIVE: Endoplasmic reticulum stress (ERS) and long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are important in melanoma development and progression. This study aimed to explore the prognostic value of ERS-associated lncRNA profiles in cutaneous melanoma (CM).METHODS: The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) provides the raw data of CM. GSEA website was used to obtain ERS-related genes, and mRNA and LncRNA co-expression network were used to obtain ERS-related lncRNAs. A Lasso regression analysis was used to identify a prognostic risk model for the composition of ERS-related lncRNAs. Patients were divided into high- and low-risk groups based on the model's risk score. The researchers then compared the two groups' survival rates, immune infiltration, chemotherapeutic drug sensitivity, and immune checkpoint gene expression.
    RESULTS: Thirty-nine ERS-related lncRNAs were discovered to be prognostic. A prognostic risk model made up of ten ERS-related lncRNAs was discovered. Patients in the low-risk group had a better prognosis than those in the high-risk group. An examination of tumor microenvironment revealed that risk scores correlated with immune cell infiltration in eight cases. Dacarbazine, paclitaxel, and cisplatin, three chemotherapy drugs, were more sensitive in the low-risk group than in the high-risk group.
    CONCLUSION: This study identified a risk model of ten ERS-related lncRNAs that have significant prognostic value in CM and could help guide clinical treatment.
    Keywords:  Cutaneous melanoma; Endoplasmic reticulum stress; LncRNA, prognosis; Risk model
  6. Blood Adv. 2022 06 14. 6(11): 3386-3397
      Understanding the genomic and epigenetic mechanisms of drug resistance in pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is critical for further improvements in treatment outcomes. The role of transcriptomic response in conferring resistance to l-asparaginase (LASP) is poorly understood beyond asparagine synthetase (ASNS). We defined reproducible LASP response genes in LASP-resistant and LASP-sensitive ALL cell lines as well as primary leukemia samples from newly diagnosed patients. Defining target genes of the amino acid stress response-related transcription factor activating transcription factor 4 (ATF4) in ALL cell lines using chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing (ChIP-seq) revealed 45% of genes that changed expression after LASP treatment were direct targets of the ATF4 transcription factor, and 34% of these genes harbored LASP-responsive ATF4 promoter binding events. SLC7A11 was found to be a response gene in cell lines and patient samples as well as a direct target of ATF4. SLC7A11 was also one of only 2.4% of LASP response genes with basal level gene expression that also correlated with LASP ex vivo resistance in primary leukemia cells. Experiments using chemical inhibition of SLC7A11 with sulfasalazine, gene overexpression, and partial gene knockout recapitulated LASP resistance or sensitivity in ALL cell lines. These findings show the importance of assessing changes in gene expression following treatment with an antileukemic agent for its association with drug resistance and highlight that many response genes may not differ in their basal expression in drug-resistant leukemia cells.
  7. Pharmacol Res. 2022 Jun 01. pii: S1043-6618(22)00230-4. [Epub ahead of print] 106285
      Vinigrol is a natural diterpenoid with unprecedented chemical structure, driving great efforts into its total synthesis in the past decades. Despite anti-hypertension and anti-clot ever reported, comprehensive investigations on bioactions and molecular mechanisms of Vinigrol are entirely missing. Here we firstly carried out a complete functional prediction of Vinigrol using a transcriptome-based strategy coupled with multiple bioinformatic analyses and identified "anti-cancer" as the most prominent biofunction ahead of anti-hypertension and anti-depression/psychosis. Broad cytotoxicity was subsequently confirmed on multiple cancer types. Further mechanistic investigation on several breast cancer cells revealed that its anti-cancer effect was mainly through activating PERK/eIF2α arm of unfolded protein response (UPR) and subsequent non-apoptotic cell death independent of caspase activities. The other two branches of UPR, IRE1α and ATF6, were functionally irrelevant to Vinigrol-induced cell death. Using CRISPR/Cas9-based gene activation, repression, and knockout systems, we identified the essential contribution of ATF4 and DDIT3, not ATF6, to the death process. This study unraveled a broad anti-cancer function of Vinigrol and its underlying targets and regulatory mechanisms. It paved the way for further inspection on the structure-efficacy relationship of the whole compound family, making them a novel cluster of PERK-specific stress activators for experimental and clinical uses.
    Keywords:  ATF4; Anti-cancer; Brefeldin A (BFA) (PubChem CID: 5287620); Cycloheximide (PubChem CID: 6197); DDIT3; Doxorubicin (PubChem CID: 31703); GSK2606414 (PubChem CID: 53469448); PERK; Trans-ISRIB (PubChem CID: 1011240); Unfolded Protein Response; Vinigrol; Vinigrol (PubChem CID: 5492644); zVAD-FMK (PubChem CID: 5497174)
  8. BMC Cancer. 2022 Jun 07. 22(1): 622
      BACKGROUND: Polyploid giant cancer cells (PGCCs) have been observed in epithelial ovarian tumors. They can resist antimitotic drugs, thus participating in tumor maintenance and recurrence. Although their origin remains unclear, PGCC formation seems to be enhanced by conditions that trigger the unfolded protein response (UPR) such as hypoxia or chemotherapeutic drugs like paclitaxel. Hypoxia has been shown to promote the formation of ovarian PGCCs by cell fusion. We thus hypothesized that the UPR could be involved in EOC cell fusion, possibly explaining the occurrence of PGCCs and the aggressiveness of EOC.METHODS: The UPR was induced in two ovarian cancer cell lines (SKOV3 and COV318). The UPR activation was assessed by Western blot and polyploidy indexes were calculated. Then, to confirm the implication of cell fusion in PGCC formation, two populations of SKOV3 cells were transfected with plasmids encoding for two distinct nuclear fluorescent proteins (GFP and mCherry) associated with different antibiotic resistance genes, and the two cell populations were mixed in co-culture. The co-culture was submitted to a double-antibiotic selection. The resulting cell population was characterized for its morphology, cyclicity, and proliferative and tumorigenic capacities, in addition to transcriptomic characterization.
    RESULTS: We demonstrated that cell fusion could be involved in the generation of ovarian PGCCs and this process was promoted by paclitaxel and the UPR activation. Double-antibiotic treatment of PGCCs led to the selection of a pure population of cells containing both GFP- and mCherry-positive nuclei. Interestingly, after 3 weeks of selection, we observed that these cells were no longer polynucleated but displayed a single nucleus positive for both fluorescent proteins, suggesting that genetic material mixing had occurred. These cells had reinitiated their normal cell cycles, acquired an increased invasive capacity, and could form ovarian tumors in ovo.
    CONCLUSIONS: The UPR activation increased the in vitro formation of PGCCs by cell fusion, with the newly generated cells further acquiring new properties. The UPR modulation in ovarian cancer patients could represent an interesting therapeutic strategy to avoid the formation of PGCCs and therefore limit cancer relapse and drug resistance.
    Keywords:  Cell fusion; Invasion; Ovarian cancer; Polyploid giant cancer cell; Unfolded protein response