bims-istrec Biomed News
on Integrated stress response in cancer
Issue of 2022‒07‒17
six papers selected by
the Vincenzo Ciminale lab
Istituto Oncologico Veneto

  1. Trends Cancer. 2022 Jul 08. pii: S2405-8033(22)00134-0. [Epub ahead of print]
      The tumor microenvironment (TME) provokes endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress in malignant cells and infiltrating immune populations. Sensing and responding to ER stress is coordinated by the unfolded protein response (UPR), an integrated signaling pathway governed by three ER stress sensors: activating transcription factor (ATF6), inositol-requiring enzyme 1α (IRE1α), and protein kinase R (PKR)-like ER kinase (PERK). Persistent UPR activation modulates malignant progression, tumor growth, metastasis, and protective antitumor immunity. Hence, therapies targeting ER stress signaling can be harnessed to elicit direct tumor killing and concomitant anticancer immunity. We highlight recent findings on the role of the ER stress responses in onco-immunology, with an emphasis on genetic vulnerabilities that render tumors highly sensitive to therapeutic UPR modulation.
    Keywords:  ER stress; cancer therapy; immune cells; tumor microenvironment; unfolded protein response
  2. Biochem Pharmacol. 2022 Jul 09. pii: S0006-2952(22)00260-X. [Epub ahead of print] 115166
      BACKGROUND: Bladder cancer (BC) is a global health issue that lacks effective treatment strategies. Growing evidence suggests that various natural products possess anti-tumour effects. This study aims to identify a novel agent that can be used in the treatment of BC.METHODS: High-throughput screening was conducted to search for potential anti-BC natural agents. Cell viabilities were measured by the CCK-8 assay. Cell death, cellular reactive oxygen species (ROS), and mitochondrial outer membrane potential (MOMP) were measured by flow cytometry. RNA sequencing was conducted to identify the affected signalling pathways. Western blots were used to measure the change of proteins. Xenografts models were used to assess the anti-tumour effects in vivo.
    RESULTS: Through high-throughput screening, we identified stevioside, a diterpenoid glycoside isolated from Stevia rebaudiana, which selectively inhibited the viability of BC cells and induced their intrinsic apoptosis sparing normal cells. Stevioside also induced mitochondrial stress in BC cells, and activated Bax by downregulating Mcl-1 and upregulating Noxa. RNA sequencing revealed that stevioside treatment caused activation of GSK-3β and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress signalling pathways. Activation of GSK-3β induced upregulation of FBXW7, which effectuated the downregulation of Mcl-1. In addition, activation of GSK-3β triggered ER stress, leading to the upregulation of Noxa. Further investigations revealed that the accumulation of ROS was responsible for the activation of the GSK-3β signalling pathway in BC cells. Moreover, we also found that stevioside inhibited the growth of BC cells in vivo.
    CONCLUSIONS: Collectively, our data suggest that stevioside can be a potential agent for the treatment of BC.
    Keywords:  ER stress; GSK-3β; ROS; Stevioside; apoptosis; bladder cancer
  3. Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Basis Dis. 2022 Jul 07. pii: S0925-4439(22)00155-7. [Epub ahead of print] 166484
      Exosomal release pathway and autophagy together maintain homeostasis and survival of cells under stressful conditions. Autophagy is a catabolic process through which cell entities, such as malformed biomacromolecules and damaged organelles, are degraded and recycled via the lysosomal-dependent pathway. Exosomes, a sub-type of extracellular vesicles (EVs) formed by the inward budding of multivesicular bodies (MVBs), are mostly involved in mediating communication between cells. The unfolded protein response (UPR) is an adaptive response that is activated to sustain survival in the cells faced with the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress through a complex network that involves protein synthesis, exosomes secretion and autophagy. Disruption of the critical crosstalk between EVs, UPR and autophagy may be implicated in various human diseases, including cancers and neurodegenerative diseases, yet the molecular mechanism(s) behind the coordination of these communication pathways remains obscure. Here, we review the available information on the mechanisms that control autophagy, ER stress and EV pathways, with the view that a better understanding of their crosstalk and balance may improve our knowledge on the pathogenesis and treatment of human diseases, where these pathways are dysregulated.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Cancer; Crosstalk; ER stress; Exosomes; Extracellular vesicles; Secretory autophagy; Unfolded protein response
  4. Cell Metab. 2022 Jul 08. pii: S1550-4131(22)00230-3. [Epub ahead of print]
      Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a typically fatal malignancy exhibiting genetic heterogeneity and limited therapy responses. We demonstrate here that HCCs consistently repress urea cycle gene expression and thereby become auxotrophic for exogenous arginine. Surprisingly, arginine import is uniquely dependent on the cationic amino acid transporter SLC7A1, whose inhibition slows HCC cell growth in vitro and in vivo. Moreover, arginine deprivation engages an integrated stress response that promotes HCC cell-cycle arrest and quiescence, dependent on the general control nonderepressible 2 (GCN2) kinase. Inhibiting GCN2 in arginine-deprived HCC cells promotes a senescent phenotype instead, rendering these cells vulnerable to senolytic compounds. Preclinical models confirm that combined dietary arginine deprivation, GCN2 inhibition, and senotherapy promote HCC cell apoptosis and tumor regression. These data suggest novel strategies to treat human liver cancers through targeting SLC7A1 and/or a combination of arginine restriction, inhibition of GCN2, and senolytic agents.
    Keywords:  GCN2; arginine; hepatocellular carcinoma; senescence; urea cycle
  5. Am J Cancer Res. 2022 ;12(6): 2627-2640
      Protein homeostasis regulated by the Endoplasmic Reticulum (ER) is a recognized process involved in cancer progression. ER stress activates the Unfolded Protein Response (UPR) and has been implicated in a variety of cancers. Given the role of the UPR activation in carcinogenesis, we hypothesized that UPR activation could be associated with pathological progression, higher clinical stage, and worse survival in breast cancer. A total of 4,416 breast cancer patients from multiple independent cohorts were analyzed. We defined the UPR pathway score by the degree of enrichment by Gene Set Variant Analysis and median was used to divide high vs. low score groups in each cohort. High UPR breast cancer significantly enriched not only cell proliferation-related but also other pro-cancerous gene sets consistently in both METABIC and GSE96058 cohort. Majority of UPR pathway score high cells in the bulk tumor were tumor cells compared to other cells, including stromal, T-, B-, and myeloid-cells (P<0.001). UPR score was significantly associated with advanced stage, high grade, and triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) (all P<0.001). High UPR breast cancer was associated with worse patient survival in both cohorts (all P<0.001). Among breast cancer subtype, ER-positive/HER2-negative breast cancer with high UPR was significantly associated with worse survival, but neither HER-positive nor TNBC. High UPR ER-positive/HER2-negative breast cancer was infiltrated with high level of Th1 and Th2 cells, M1 macrophage, and plasma cells. On the other hand, they were significantly infiltrated with high level of several types of stromal cells in tumor microenvironment (all P<0.001). Finally, high UPR metastatic breast cancer was also associated with worse patient survival (P=0.041). UPR signaling is associated with cancer aggressiveness, and worse survival, especially ER-positive/HER2-negative breast cancer subtype.
    Keywords:  Biomarker; breast cancer; gene expression; hormonal; unfolded protein response
  6. Transl Oncol. 2022 Jul 08. pii: S1936-5233(22)00133-4. [Epub ahead of print]23 101474
      BACKGROUND: Urothelial carcinoma (UC) is one of the most common cancers worldwide. The biological heterogeneity of UCs causes considerable difficulties in predicting treatment outcomes and usually leads to clinical mismanagement. The identification of more sensitive and efficient predictive biomarkers is important in the diagnosis and classification of UCs. Herein, we report leucine-rich repeat-containing protein 59 (LRRC59) located in the endoplasmic reticulum as a novel predictive factor and potential therapeutic target for UCs.METHODS: Using whole-slide image analysis in our cohort of 107 UC samples, we performed immunohistochemistry to evaluate the prognostic value of LRRC59 expression in UCs. In vitro experiments using RNAi were conducted to explore the role of LRRC59 in promoting UC cell proliferation and migration.
    RESULTS: A significant correlation between LRRC59 and unfavorable prognosis of UCs in our cohort was demonstrated. Subsequent clinical analysis also revealed that elevated expression levels of LRRC59 were significantly associated with higher pathological grades and advanced stages of UC. Subsequently, knockdown of LRRC59 in UM-UC-3 and T24 cells using small interfering RNA significantly inhibited cell proliferation and migration, resulting in cell cycle arrest at the G1 phase. Conversely, the overexpression of LRRC59 in UC cells enhanced cell proliferation and migration. An integrated bioinformatics analysis revealed a significant functional network of LRRC59 involving protein misfolding, ER stress, and ubiquitination. Finally, in vitro experiments demonstrated that LRRC59 modulates ER stress signaling.
    CONCLUSIONS: LRRC59 expression was significantly correlated with UC prognosis. LRRC59 might not only serve as a novel prognostic biomarker for risk stratification of patients with UC but also exhibit as a potential therapeutic target in UC that warrants further investigation.
    Keywords:  Endoplasmic reticulum stress; Leucine-rich repeat-containing protein; Prognosis; Ubiquitination; Urothelial carcinoma