bims-istrec Biomed News
on Integrated stress response in cancer
Issue of 2022‒06‒26
ten papers selected by
the Vincenzo Ciminale lab
Istituto Oncologico Veneto

  1. Mol Carcinog. 2022 Jun 21.
      Research has shown extensive metabolic remodeling in clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC), with increased glutathione (GSH) levels. We hypothesized that activating transcription factor-4 (ATF4) and the integrated stress response (ISR) induce a metabolic shift, including increased GSH accumulation, and that Vitamin A deficiency (VAD), found in ccRCCs, can also activate ATF4 signaling in the kidney. To determine the role of ATF4, we used publicly available RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) data sets from The Cancer Genomics Atlas. Subsequently, we performed RNA-seq and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry-based metabolomics analysis of the murine TRAnsgenic Cancer of the Kidney (TRACK) model for early-stage ccRCC. To validate our findings, we generated RCC4 cell lines with ATF4 gene edits (ATF4-knockout [KO]) and subjected these cells to metabolic isotope tracing. Analysis of variance, the two-sided Student's t test, and gene set enrichment analysis were used (p < 0.05) to determine statistical significance. Here we show that most human ccRCC tumors exhibit activation of the transcription factor ATF4. Activation of ATF4 is concomitant with enrichment of the ATF4 gene set and elevated expression of ATF4 target genes ASNS, ALDH1L2, MTHFD2, DDIT3 (CHOP), DDIT4, TRIB3, EIF4EBP1, SLC7A11, and PPP1R15A (GADD34). Transcript profiling and metabolomics analyses show that activated hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF1α) signaling in our TRACK ccRCC murine model also induces an ATF4-mediated ISR. Notably, both normoxic HIF1α signaling in TRACK kidneys and VAD in wild-type kidneys diminish amino acid levels, increase ASNS, TRIB3, and MTHFD2 messenger RNA levels, and increase levels of lipids and GSH. By metabolic isotope tracing in human RCC4 kidney cancer parental and ATF4 gene-edited (ATF4-KO) cell lines, we show that ATF4 increases GSH accumulation in part via activation of the mitochondrial one-carbon metabolism pathway. Our results demonstrate for the first time that activation of ATF4 enhances GSH accumulation, increases purine and pyrimidine biosynthesis, and contributes to transcriptional and metabolic remodeling in ccRCC. Moreover, constitutive HIF1α expressed only in murine kidney proximal tubules activates ATF4, leading to the metabolic changes associated with the ISR. Our data indicate that HIF1α can promote ccRCC via ATF4 activation. Moreover, lack of Vitamin A in the kidney recapitulates aspects of the ISR.
    Keywords:  HIF; glutathione; kidney cancer; nutrition; retinoids
  2. Cancers (Basel). 2022 Jun 15. pii: 2949. [Epub ahead of print]14(12):
      Protein quality control mechanisms play an important role in cancer progression by providing adaptive responses and morphologic stability against genome-wide copy number alterations, aneuploidy, and conformation-altering somatic mutations. This dependency on protein quality control mechanisms creates a vulnerability that may be exploited for therapeutic benefits by targeting components of the protein quality control mechanism. Recently, valosin-containing protein (VCP), also known at p97 AAA-ATPase, has emerged as a druggable target in cancer cells to affect their dependency on protein quality control. Here, we show that VCP inhibitors induce cytotoxicity in several ovarian cancer cell lines and these compounds act synergistically with mifepristone, a drug previously shown to induce an atypical unfolded protein response. Although mifepristone at a clinically achievable dose induces a weak unfolded protein response, it enhances the cytotoxic effects of VCP inhibitor CB-5083. Mechanistically, mifepristone blocks the cytoprotective effect of ATF6 in response to endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress while activating the cytotoxic effects of ATF4 and CHOP through the HRI (EIF2AK1)-mediated signal transduction pathway. In contrast, CB-5083 activates ATF4 and CHOP through the PERK (EIF2AK3)-mediated signaling pathway. This combination activates ATF4 and CHOP while blocking the adaptive response provided by ATF6, resulting in increased cytotoxic effects and synergistic drug interaction.
    Keywords:  VCP inhibitors; cancer therapy; mifepristone; ovarian cancer; proteostasis
  3. Oncol Lett. 2022 Jul;24(1): 233
      As the most common type of lung cancer, lung adenocarcinoma (LUAD) poses a great threat to human health worldwide and severely compromises the quality of life of the patients. The present study aimed to explore the potential pathogenesis of LUAD. Reverse transcription-quantitative PCR and western blotting were applied to measure the expression levels of SEC61 translocon subunit γ (SEC61G) and cyclic AMP-responsive element-binding protein 3 (CREB3). Western blotting was also used to determine the expression of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress-, apoptosis- and migration-related proteins. Cell Counting Kit-8, colony formation, TUNEL, wound healing and Transwell assays were used, respectively, to determine the viability, proliferation, apoptosis, migration and invasion of LUAD A549 cells. The association between SEC61G and CREB3 was verified by co-immunoprecipitation assay. The results revealed that SEC61G was upregulated in A549 cells and its downregulation could activate ER stress. It was also found that silencing SEC61G inhibited the malignant development of LUAD through ER stress. In addition, SEC61G was verified to participate in ER stress in LUAD via CREB3 and silencing SEC61G exerted inhibitory effects on the malignant progression of LUAD by regulating CREB3. In summary, SEC61G participated in ER stress and its knockdown exerted inhibitory effects on A549 cells via regulating CREB3, which suggests that SEC61G may be a potential therapy for patients with LUAD.
    Keywords:  SEC61 translocon subunit γ; cyclic AMP-responsive element-binding protein 3; endoplasmic reticulum stress; lung adenocarcinoma
  4. Aging (Albany NY). 2022 Jun 20. 14(undefined):
      Calreticulin (CRT) is located in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), it helps proteins fold correctly inside the ER, and acts as a modulator of Ca2+ homeostasis. Aberrant expression of CRT is implicated in several cancer types, qualifying CRT as a potential therapeutic target. However, it remains unclear how CRT affects specific oncogenic pathways. In this study, we used histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACis) to establish drug-resistant liver cancer cells and further analyzed the molecular mechanism of development of drug resistance in those cells. The 2D gel electrophoresis and RT-PCR data showed that CRT was downregulated in HDACis-resistant cells by comparing with HA22T parental cells. We previously elucidated the development of drug-resistance in HCC cells via activation of PP1-eIF2α pathway, but not via ER stress pathway. Here, we show that thapsigargin induced ER stress through mechanism other than ER stress downstream protein GRP78-PERK to regulate CRT expression in HDACis-R cells. Moreover, the expression level of CRT was not the main cause of apoptosis in HDACis-resistant cells. Mechanistic studies identified the apoptosis factors in the nucleus-the HDACis-mediated overexpression of CRT, CRT translocation to the cell nucleus, and reduced CaM/CaMKII/CREB pathway-that led to chemosensitivity in HDACis-R HCC cells.
    Keywords:  HDACis-resistant cells; calreticulin; chemosensitivity; hepatocellular carcinoma
  5. Cancers (Basel). 2022 Jun 15. pii: 2959. [Epub ahead of print]14(12):
      Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), a highly aggressive liver cancer, is a leading cause of cancer-related death. Tumor Treating Fields (TTFields) are electric fields that exert antimitotic effects on cancerous cells. The aims of the current research were to test the efficacy of TTFields in HCC, explore the underlying mechanisms, and investigate the possible combination of TTFields with sorafenib, one of the few front-line treatments for patients with advanced HCC. HepG2 and Huh-7D12 human HCC cell lines were treated with TTFields at various frequencies to determine the optimal frequency eliciting maximal cell count reduction. Clonogenic, apoptotic effects, and autophagy induction were measured. The efficacy of TTFields alone and with concomitant sorafenib was tested in cell cultures and in an orthotopic N1S1 rat model. Tumor volume was examined at the beginning and following 5 days of treatment. At study cessation, tumors were weighed and examined by immunohistochemistry to assess autophagy and apoptosis. TTFields were found in vitro to exert maximal effect at 150 kHz, reducing cell count and colony formation, increasing apoptosis and autophagy, and augmenting the effects of sorafenib. In animals, TTFields concomitant with sorafenib reduced tumor weight and volume fold change, and increased cases of stable disease following treatment versus TTFields or sorafenib alone. While each treatment alone elevated levels of autophagy relative to control, TTFields concomitant with sorafenib induced a significant increase versus control in tumor ER stress and apoptosis levels, demonstrating increased stress under the multimodal treatment. Overall, TTFields treatment demonstrated efficacy and enhanced the effects of sorafenib for the treatment of HCC in vitro and in vivo, via a mechanism involving induction of autophagy.
    Keywords:  TTFields; Tumor Treating Fields; autophagy; cancer treatment; combination therapy; hepatocellular carcinoma; sorafenib
  6. J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2022 Jun 25.
      PURPOSE: To investigate the effect of TAP7f, a penicillin derivative previously characterized as a potent antitumor agent that promotes ER stress and apoptosis, in combination with thapsigargin, an ER stress inducer, on melanoma cells.METHODS: The synergistic antiproliferative effect of TAP7f in combination with thapsigargin was studied in vitro in murine B16-F0 melanoma cells, and in human A375 and SB2 melanoma cells. In vivo assays were performed with C57BL/6J mice challenged with B16-F0 cells. Immunofluorescence and Western blot assays were carried out to characterize the induction of ER stress and apoptosis. Necrotic tumor areas and the potential toxicity of the combined therapy were examined by histological analysis of tissue sections after hematoxylin-eosin staining.
    RESULTS: In vitro, the combination of TAP7f with thapsigargin synergistically inhibited the proliferation of murine B16-F0, and human A375 and SB2 melanoma cells. When non-inhibitory doses of each drug were simultaneously administered to C57BL/6J mice challenged with B16-F0 cells, a 50% reduction in tumor volumes was obtained in the combined group. An apoptotic response characterized by higher expression levels of Baxenhanced PARP-1 cleavage and the presence of active caspase 3 was observed in tumors from the combined treatment. In addition, higher expression levels of GADD153/CHOP and ATF4 were found in tumors of mice treated with both drugs with respect to each drug used alone, indicating the induction of an ER stress response. No signs of tissue toxicity were observed in histological sections of different organs extracted from mice receiving the combination.
    CONCLUSION: The synergistic and effective antitumor action of TAP7f in combination with thapsigargin could be considered as a potential therapeutic strategy for melanoma treatment.
    Keywords:  ER stress; Melanoma cells; Synergistic antitumor action; Thapsigargin; Triazolylpeptidyl penicillin
  7. Medicina (Kaunas). 2022 Jun 14. pii: 799. [Epub ahead of print]58(6):
      Background and Objectives: Gastric cancer remains a major unmet clinical problem worldwide. Although conventional medical treatments are available, their curative effects are generally unsatisfactory. Consequently, it remains necessary to search natural products for potential alternatives in treating gastric cancer patients. Ocimum x africanum Lour. is a culinary herb that has been used in folk medicine for various diseases, but little is known regarding its anti-cancer activity against gastric cancer cells. In the current study, we focus on the anti-cancer mechanisms of O. x africanum essential oil (OAEO) in the AGS human gastric cancer cell line. Materials and Methods: After OAEO treatment, AGS cell viability was evaluated by MTT assay. Cell migration and apoptotic nuclear morphology were determined by wound-healing assay and DAPI staining, respectively. Gene expression levels of apoptosis-related genes were quantified by qRT-PCR. Differential protein expression was determined with an LC-MS/MS-based proteomics approach to identify the key proteins that may be important in the anti-cancer mechanisms of OAEO on AGS cells. The chemical constituents of OAEO were identified by GC-MS analysis. Results: We found OAEO to exhibit a potent growth-inhibiting effect on AGS cells, with an IC50 value of 42.73 µg/mL. After OAEO treatment for 24 h, AGS cell migration was significantly decreased relative to the untreated control. OAEO-treated AGS cells exhibited common features of apoptotic cell death, including cell shrinkage, membrane blebbing, chromatin condensation, and nuclear fragmentation. Apoptotic cell death was confirmed by qRT-PCR for apoptosis-related genes, revealing that OAEO decreased the expression of anti-apoptotic genes (BCL2 and BCL-xL) and activated pro-apoptotic genes and apoptotic caspase genes (TP53, BAX, CASP9, CASP12, and CASP3). Moreover, expression of CASP8 was not changed after treatment. Proteomic analysis revealed that OAEO may produce a signature effect on protein clusters relating to unfolded protein accumulation, thereby inducing severe ER stress and also impairing ribosome synthesis. STRING analysis revealed seven up-regulated and 11 down-regulated proteins, which were significantly associated with protein folding and ribosome biogenesis, respectively. Using GC-MS analysis, 6-methyl-5-hepten-2-one, citral, neral, and linalool were found to be the major chemical constituents in OAEO. Conclusions: Taken together, these results indicate that OAEO has a potential anti-proliferative effect on AGS cells. Our molecular findings show evidence supporting an important role of ER stress and ribosome biogenesis impairment in mediating the induction of cell death by OAEO through the mitochondrial-apoptotic pathway. This study, therefore, provides fundamental knowledge for future applications using OAEO as an alternative therapy in gastric cancer management.
    Keywords:  AGS gastric cancer; ER stress; Ocimum x africanum; apoptosis; essential oil; ribosome biogenesis
  8. Biomolecules. 2022 Jun 17. pii: 843. [Epub ahead of print]12(6):
      Liposarcoma is a rare and heterogeneous soft tissue malignant tumor and has a significant impact on mortality with a poor prognosis. To date, there is no effective treatment for liposarcoma, whereas surgical resection is only the gold treatment with numerous adverse effects. Here we investigated whether tetrandrine inhibits the growth of SW872 human malignant liposarcoma cells. Of note, tetrandrine at 10 μM vastly inhibited growth and induced apoptosis, as evidenced by increased nuclear DNA fragmentation and sub-G1 population of SW872 cells. Mechanistically, treatment with tetrandrine led to activation of caspase-9/3 in SW872 cells, and z-VAD-fmk, a pan-caspase inhibitor, attenuated the tetrandrine-induced apoptosis and growth suppression in SW872 cells. In addition, tetrandrine treatment resulted in down-regulation of XIAP andSTAT-3 in SW872 cells, and importantly knockdown of STAT-3 caused a significant reduction of the cell survival. Tetrandrine also had abilities to up-regulate not only the expression of GRP78 and ATF-4 but also the phosphorylation of eIF-2α in SW872 cells. In summary, these results demonstrated that tetrandrine has strong growth-suppressive and apoptosis-inducing effects on SW872 cells, which are mediated through control of the intrinsic caspase pathway, down-regulation of XIAP and STAT-3, and triggering ER stress.
    Keywords:  ER stress; STAT-3; SW872; apoptosis; caspase-9; tetrandrine
  9. Molecules. 2022 Jun 13. pii: 3804. [Epub ahead of print]27(12):
      Prostaglandin (PG) A2, a cyclopentenone PG, induced apoptosis in both HCT116 and HCT116 p53 -/- cells. Although PGA2-induced apoptosis in HCT116 cells was dependent on the p53-DR5 pathway, the mechanism underlying PGA2-induced apoptosis in HCT116 p53 -/- cells remains unknown. In this study, we observed that PGA2 caused an increase of mRNA expression of DR5 and protein expression even in HCT116 p53 -/- cells, accompanied by caspase-dependent apoptosis. Knockdown of DR5 expression by RNA interference inhibited PGA2-induced apoptosis in HCT116 p53 -/- cells. Parallel to the induction of apoptosis, PGA2 treatment upregulated expression of genes upstream of DR5 such as ATF4 and CHOP. Knockdown of CHOP prevented DR5-dependent cell death as well as the expression of DR5 protein. Furthermore, knockdown of ATF4 by RNA interference decreased both mRNA and protein levels of CHOP and DR5, thereby suppressing PGA2-induced cell death. Consistently, the DR5 promoter activity increased by PGA2 was not stimulated when the CHOP binding site in the DR5 promoter was mutated. These results collectively suggest that PGA2 may induce DR5-dependent apoptosis via the ATF4-CHOP pathway in HCT116 p53 null cells.
    Keywords:  ATF4; CHOP; DR5; apoptosis; p53; prostaglandin A2
  10. Biology (Basel). 2022 May 25. pii: 811. [Epub ahead of print]11(6):
      It is known that seven mammalian selenoproteins are localized in the endoplasmic reticulum: SELENOM, SELENOT, SELENOF, SELENOK, SELENOS, SELENON, and DIO2. Among them, SELENOM and SELENOT are the least studied; therefore, the study of their function using the widespread method of suppressing the expression of genes encoding these proteins and the activity of the enzymes themselves by RNA interference is of great interest. We have shown that a decrease in the expression of SELENOM and SELENOT mRNA in the A-172 human glioblastoma cell line by more than 10 times and the quantitative content of enzymes by more than 3 times leads to ER stress, expressed as a decrease in the ER capacity for storing Ca2+ ions. At the level of regulation of apoptotic processes, SELENOM knockdown leads to an increase in the expression of pro-apoptotic CHOP, GADD34, PUMA, and BIM genes, but a compensatory increase in the levels of SELENOT and antioxidant genes from the group of glutathione peroxidases and thioredoxins did not induce cell death. Knockdown of SELENOT had the opposite effect, reducing the expression of pro-apoptotic proteins and regulating the level of a smaller number of genes encoding antioxidant enzymes, which also did not affect the baseline level of apoptosis in the studied cells. At the same time, ER stress induced by MSA or SeNPs induced a more pronounced pro-apoptotic effect in SELENOT knockdown cells through suppression of the expression of selenium-containing antioxidant proteins. Thus, in this work, for the first time, the mechanisms of fine regulation of the processes of apoptosis, cell proliferation, and ER stress by two ER resident proteins, SELENOM and SELENOT, are touched upon, which is not only fundamental but also applied to clinical importance due to the close relationship between the calcium signaling system of cells, folding proteins-regulators of apoptosis and cell survival pathways.
    Keywords:  ER stress; ERAD system; SELENOM; SELENOT; calcium homeostasis; methylseleninic acid; selenium; selenium nanoparticles; selenoproteins; sodium selenite