bims-pideca Biomed News
on Class IA PI3K signalling in development and cancer
Issue of 2019‒09‒08
eighteen papers selected by
Ralitsa Radostinova Madsen
University College London Cancer Institute

  1. Oncotarget. 2019 Aug 20. 10(49): 5011-5019
      Background: Phosphatase and tensin homologue deleted from chromosome 10 (PTEN) negatively regulates the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/AKT/mTOR pathway. Triple negative breast cancers (TNBC) are often PTEN-deficient, making mTOR a compelling target. We evaluated the efficacy of catalytic mTOR inhibitor TAK228 alone and in combination with eribulin in TNBC. Results: Five of eight triple negative breast cell lines were sensitive to TAK228, independent of PIK3CA/PTEN status. Western blotting demonstrated inhibition of mTORC1/2 signaling as demonstrated by decreased phospho-AKT, phospho-S6 and phospho-4EBP1. In vitro, TAK228 was synergistic with eribulin in all eight TNBC cell lines. The combination of TAK228 and eribulin did not enhance apoptosis but increased G2/M growth arrest. In vivo, TAK228 led to modest growth inhibition in TNBC patient-derived xenografts (PDXs) with no tumor regression observed. In two TNBC PDXs with PTEN loss, one with intrinsic eribulin sensitivity, another eribulin resistance, TAK228 in combination with eribulin did not enhance in vivo efficacy. In a third PTEN-negative TNBC model, eribulin alone achieved disease stabilization, but the combination of TAK228 and eribulin led to significantly smaller tumor volumes compared to eribulin alone (p < 0.001). Methods: We tested in vitro efficacy of TAK228 in a panel of TNBC cell lines with cell proliferation assays. In vivo antitumor efficacy of TAK228 was evaluated alone and in combination with eribulin. Conclusion: TAK228 enhances the antitumor efficacy of eribulin in TNBC models in vitro, and enhanced in vivo activity in selected models. Further study is needed to determine the potential of this combination, and optimal patient selection strategies.
    Keywords:  PI3K; PTEN; TAK228; TNBC; breast cancer
  2. Sci Rep. 2019 Sep 03. 9(1): 12683
      Insulin interacts with the insulin receptor, and the activated receptor promotes activity of the phosphoinositide-3 kinase (PI3K) enzyme. A decrease in insulin or insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) signaling increases the lifespan in mammalian species. We found that a point mutation in the C-SH2 domain of the p85β regulatory subunit of PI3K results in a prolonged lifespan. In p85β mutant cells, nerve growth factor (NGF) activates the longevity protein FOXO, and the mutant p85β gene produces strong resistance to oxidative stress, which contributes to aging. The p85β gene mutation causes increased serum insulin and low blood glucose in p85β mutant transgenic mice. Our results indicate that the p85β mutant allele alters the activity of downstream targets of PI3K by NGF and platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) but not by insulin. We report that a point mutation in the C-SH2 domain of p85β transforms p85β into a novel anti-aging gene by abnormally regulating PI3K.
  3. Cells. 2019 Aug 30. pii: E1010. [Epub ahead of print]8(9):
      Unlike other breast cancer subtypes, patients with triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) have poor outcomes and no effective targeted therapies, leaving an unmet need for therapeutic targets. Efforts to profile these tumors have revealed the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway as a potential target. Activation of this pathway also contributes to resistance to anti-cancer agents, including microtubule-targeting agents. Eribulin is one such microtubule-targeting agent that is beneficial in treating taxane and anthracycline refractory breast cancer. In this study, we compared the effect of eribulin on the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway with other microtubule-targeting agents in TNBC. We found that the phosphorylation of AKT was suppressed by eribulin, a microtubule depolymerizing agent, but activated by paclitaxel, a microtubule stabilizing agent. The combination of eribulin and everolimus, an mTOR inhibitor, resulted in an increased reduction of p-S6K1 and p-S6, a synergistic inhibition of cell survival in vitro, and an enhanced suppression of tumor growth in two orthotopic mouse models. These findings provide a preclinical foundation for targeting both the microtubule cytoskeleton and the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway in the treatment of refractory TNBC.
    Keywords:  PI3K/AKT/mTOR; TNBC; combination; eribulin; everolimus; synergy
  4. Mol Cell. 2019 Aug 12. pii: S1097-2765(19)30551-9. [Epub ahead of print]
      Sensing nutrient availability is essential for appropriate cellular growth, and mTORC1 is a major regulator of this process. Mechanisms causing mTORC1 activation are, however, complex and diverse. We report here an additional important step in the activation of mTORC1, which regulates the efflux of amino acids from lysosomes into the cytoplasm. This process requires DRAM-1, which binds the membrane carrier protein SCAMP3 and the amino acid transporters SLC1A5 and LAT1, directing them to lysosomes and permitting efficient mTORC1 activation. Consequently, we show that loss of DRAM-1 also impacts pathways regulated by mTORC1, including insulin signaling, glycemic balance, and adipocyte differentiation. Interestingly, although DRAM-1 can promote autophagy, this effect on mTORC1 is autophagy independent, and autophagy only becomes important for mTORC1 activation when DRAM-1 is deleted. These findings provide important insights into mTORC1 activation and highlight the importance of DRAM-1 in growth control, metabolic homeostasis, and differentiation.
    Keywords:  DRAM-1; SCAMP3; amino acid transporters; and adipocyte differentiation; autophagy; insulin signaling; mTOR
  5. Am J Med Genet C Semin Med Genet. 2019 Sep 06.
      Increased risk of thromboembolism has been recognized in individuals with mosaic overgrowth disorders, Proteus syndrome (PS) and PIK3CA-related overgrowth spectrum (PROS), including Klippel-Trenaunay syndrome and CLOVES syndrome. PS and PROS have distinct, yet overlapping clinical findings and are caused by somatic pathogenic variants in the PI3K/AKT gene signaling pathway. PS is caused by a single somatic activating AKT1 c.49G > A p.E17K variant while PROS can be caused one of multiple variants in PIK3CA. The role of prothrombotic factors, endothelial cell adhesion molecules, and vascular malformations in both PS and PROS have not been previously investigated. A pilot study of prospective clinical and laboratory evaluations with the purposes of identifying potential risk factors for thrombosis was conducted. Doppler ultrasounds and magnetic resonance angiogram/ venography (MRA/MRV) scans identified vascular malformations in PS and PROS that were not appreciated on physical examination. Abnormal D-dimers (0.60-2.0 mcg/ml) occurred in half of individuals, many having vascular malformations, but no thromboses. Soluble vascular endothelial markers, including thrombomodulin, soluble vascular adhesion molecule (sVCAM), soluble intercellular adhesion molecule (sICAM), E-selectin, and P-selectin were significantly higher in PS and PROS compared to controls. However, no single attribute was identified that explained the risk of thrombosis. Predisposition to thrombosis is likely multifactorial with risk factors including chronic stasis within vascular malformations, stasis from impaired mobility (e.g., following surgery), decreased anticoagulant proteins, and effects of AKT1 and PIK3CA variants on vascular endothelium. Based on our findings, we propose clinical recommendations for surveillance of thrombosis in PS and PROS.
    Keywords:  PIK3CA-related overgrowth spectrum (PROS); Proteus syndrome; deep vein thrombosis (DVT); pulmonary embolism (PE); thrombosis
  6. Biomolecules. 2019 Aug 30. pii: E427. [Epub ahead of print]9(9):
      Phosphatidylinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) γ is the only class IB PI3K member playing significant roles in the G-protein-dependent regulation of cell signaling in health and disease. Originally found in the immune system, increasing evidence suggest a wide array of functions in the whole organism. PI3Kγ occur as two different heterodimeric variants: PI3Kγ (p87) and PI3Kγ (p101), which share the same p110γ catalytic subunit but differ in their associated non-catalytic subunit. Here we concentrate on specific PI3Kγ features including its regulation and biological functions. In particular, the roles of its non-catalytic subunits serving as the main regulators determining specificity of class IB PI3Kγ enzymes are highlighted.
    Keywords:  G-proteins; Gβγ; PI3K (phosphatidylinositide 3-kinase); Ras; class I PI3-kinases; p110γ; p87 (p84)
  7. J Clin Invest. 2019 Sep 05. pii: 127949. [Epub ahead of print]
      Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a devastating autoimmune disease, in which hyperactive T cells play a critical role. Understanding molecular mechanisms underlying the T cell hyperactivity will lead to identification of specific therapeutic targets. Serine/arginine-rich splicing factor (SRSF)1 is an essential RNA-binding protein which controls posttranscriptional gene expression. We have demonstrated that SRSF1 levels are aberrantly decreased in T cells from SLE patients and correlate with severe disease, yet the role of SRSF1 in T cell physiology and autoimmune disease is largely unknown. Here we show that T cell-restricted Srsf1-deficient mice develop systemic autoimmunity and lupus-nephritis. Mice exhibit increased frequencies of activated/effector T cells producing proinflammatory cytokines, and an elevated T cell activation gene signature. Mechanistically, we noted increased activity of the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway and reduced expression of its repressor PTEN. The mTOR complex (mTORC)1 inhibitor rapamycin suppressed proinflammatory cytokine production by T cells and alleviated autoimmunity in Srsf1-deficient mice. Of direct clinical relevance, PTEN levels correlated with SRSF1 in T cells from SLE patients, and SRSF1 overexpression rescued PTEN, suppressed mTORC1 activation and proinflammatory cytokine production. Our studies reveal the role of a previously unrecognized molecule SRSF1 in restraining T cell activation and averting the development of autoimmune disease and a potential therapeutic target for lupus.
    Keywords:  Autoimmunity; Cytokines; Immunology; Lupus; T cells
  8. Oncogene. 2019 Sep 02.
      Research of the past view years expanded our understanding of the various physiological functions the cell-fate determining transcription factor SOX2 exerts in ontogenesis, reprogramming, and cancer. However, while scientific reports featuring novel and exciting aspects of SOX2-driven biology are published in near weekly routine, investigations in the underlying protein-biochemical processes that transiently tailor SOX2 activity to situational demand are underrepresented and have not yet been comprehensively summarized. Largely unrecognizable to modern array or sequencing-based technology, various protein secondary modifications and concomitant function modulations have been reported for SOX2. The chemical modifications imposed onto SOX2 are inherently heterogeneous, comprising singular or clustered events of phosphorylation, methylation, acetylation, ubiquitination, SUMOylation, PARPylation, and O-glycosylation that reciprocally affect each other and critically impact SOX2 functionality, often in a tissue and species-specific manner. One recurring regulatory principle though is the canonical PI3K/AKT signaling axis to which SOX2 relates in various entangled, albeit not exclusive ways. Here we provide a comprehensive review of the current knowledge on SOX2 protein modifications, their proposed relationship to the PI3K/AKT pathway, and regulatory influence on SOX2 with regards to stemness, reprogramming, and cancer.
  9. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019 Sep 06. pii: 201902397. [Epub ahead of print]
      The mTORC1 pathway regulates cell growth and proliferation by properly coupling critical processes such as gene expression, protein translation, and metabolism to the availability of growth factors and hormones, nutrients, cellular energetics, oxygen status, and cell stress. Although multiple cytoplasmic substrates of mTORC1 have been identified, how mTORC1 signals within the nucleus remains incompletely understood. Here, we report a mechanism by which mTORC1 modulates the phosphorylation of multiple nuclear events. We observed a significant nuclear enrichment of GSK3 when mTORC1 was suppressed, which promotes phosphorylation of several proteins such as GTF2F1 and FOXK1. Importantly, nuclear localization of GSK3 is sufficient to suppress cell proliferation. Additionally, expression of a nuclear exporter of GSK3, FRAT, restricts the nuclear localization of GSK3, represses nuclear protein phosphorylation, and prevents rapamycin-induced cytostasis. Finally, we observe a correlation between rapamycin resistance and FRAT expression in multiple-cancer cell lines. Resistance to Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved rapamycin analogs (rapalogs) is observed in many tumor settings, but the underling mechanisms remain incompletely understood. Given that FRAT expression levels are frequently elevated in various cancers, our observations provide a potential biomarker and strategy for overcoming rapamycin resistance.
    Keywords:  FRAT; GSK3; Resistance; mTOR
  10. Sci Rep. 2019 Sep 06. 9(1): 12822
      Despite recent advances in the treatment of medulloblastoma, patients in high-risk categories still face very poor outcomes. Evidence indicates that a subpopulation of cancer stem cells contributes to therapy resistance and tumour relapse in these patients. To prevent resistance and relapse, the development of treatment strategies tailored to target subgroup specific signalling circuits in high-risk medulloblastomas might be similarly important as targeting the cancer stem cell population. We have previously demonstrated potent antineoplastic effects for the PI3Kα selective inhibitor alpelisib in medulloblastoma. Here, we performed studies aimed to enhance the anti-medulloblastoma effects of alpelisib by simultaneous catalytic targeting of the mTOR kinase. Pharmacological mTOR inhibition potently enhanced the suppressive effects of alpelisib on cancer cell proliferation, colony formation and apoptosis and additionally blocked sphere-forming ability of medulloblastoma stem-like cancer cells in vitro. We identified the HH effector GLI1 as a target for dual PI3Kα and mTOR inhibition in SHH-type medulloblastoma and confirmed these results in HH-driven Ewing sarcoma cells. Importantly, pharmacologic mTOR inhibition greatly enhanced the inhibitory effects of alpelisib on medulloblastoma tumour growth in vivo. In summary, these findings highlight a key role for PI3K/mTOR signalling in GLI1 regulation in HH-driven cancers and suggest that combined PI3Kα/mTOR inhibition may be particularly interesting for the development of effective treatment strategies in high-risk medulloblastomas.
  11. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2019 Sep 06.
      Cullin ring-finger ubiquitin ligase 4 (CRL4) has multiple functions in the maintenance of oocyte survival and meiotic cell cycle progression. DCAF13, a novel CRL4 adaptor, is essential for oocyte development. But the mechanisms by which CRL4-DCAF13 supports meiotic maturation remained unclear. In this study, we demonstrated that DCAF13 stimulates the meiotic resumption-coupled activation of protein synthesis in oocytes, partially by maintaining the activity of PI3K signaling pathway. CRL4-DCAF13 targets the polyubiquitination and degradation of PTEN, a lipid phosphatase that inhibits PI3K pathway as well as oocyte growth and maturation. Dcaf13 knockout in oocytes caused decreased CDK1 activity and impaired meiotic cell cycle progression and chromosome condensation defects. As a result, chromosomes fail to be aligned at the spindle equatorial plate, the spindle assembly checkpoint is activated, and most Dcaf13 null oocytes are arrested at the prometaphase I. The DCAF13-dependent PTEN degradation mechanism fits in as a missing link between CRL4 ubiquitin E3 ligase and PI3K pathway, both of which are crucial for translational activation during oocyte GV-MII transition.
    Keywords:  DDB1–CUL4-associated factor 13; Female fertility; Female germ cell; Meiosis; PI3K signaling pathway; Ubiquitin E3 ligase
  12. Nat Genet. 2019 Sep;51(9): 1389-1398
      Integrating single-cell trajectory analysis with pooled genetic screening could reveal the genetic architecture that guides cellular decisions in development and disease. We applied this paradigm to probe the genetic circuitry that controls epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT). We used single-cell RNA sequencing to profile epithelial cells undergoing a spontaneous spatially determined EMT in the presence or absence of transforming growth factor-β. Pseudospatial trajectory analysis identified continuous waves of gene regulation as opposed to discrete 'partial' stages of EMT. KRAS was connected to the exit from the epithelial state and the acquisition of a fully mesenchymal phenotype. A pooled single-cell CRISPR-Cas9 screen identified EMT-associated receptors and transcription factors, including regulators of KRAS, whose loss impeded progress along the EMT. Inhibiting the KRAS effector MEK and its upstream activators EGFR and MET demonstrates that interruption of key signaling events reveals regulatory 'checkpoints' in the EMT continuum that mimic discrete stages, and reconciles opposing views of the program that controls EMT.
  13. Nature. 2019 Sep 04.
      Metastasis is the major driver of death in patients with cancer. Invasion of surrounding tissues and metastasis have been proposed to initiate following loss of the intercellular adhesion protein, E-cadherin1,2, on the basis of inverse correlations between in vitro migration and E-cadherin levels3. However, this hypothesis is inconsistent with the observation that most breast cancers are invasive ductal carcinomas and express E-cadherin in primary tumours and metastases4. To resolve this discrepancy, we tested the genetic requirement for E-cadherin in metastasis using mouse and human models of both luminal and basal invasive ductal carcinomas. Here we show that E-cadherin promotes metastasis in diverse models of invasive ductal carcinomas. While loss of E-cadherin increased invasion, it also reduced cancer cell proliferation and survival, circulating tumour cell number, seeding of cancer cells in distant organs and metastasis outgrowth. Transcriptionally, loss of E-cadherin was associated with upregulation of genes involved in transforming growth factor-β (TGFβ), reactive oxygen species and apoptosis signalling pathways. At the cellular level, disseminating E-cadherin-negative cells exhibited nuclear enrichment of SMAD2/3, oxidative stress and increased apoptosis. Colony formation of E-cadherin-negative cells was rescued by inhibition of TGFβ-receptor signalling, reactive oxygen accumulation or apoptosis. Our results reveal that E-cadherin acts as a survival factor in invasive ductal carcinomas during the detachment, systemic dissemination and seeding phases of metastasis by limiting reactive oxygen-mediated apoptosis. Identifying molecular strategies to inhibit E-cadherin-mediated survival in metastatic breast cancer cells may have potential as a therapeutic approach for breast cancer.
  14. Trends Cancer. 2019 Sep;pii: S2405-8033(19)30143-8. [Epub ahead of print]5(9): 541-546
      Hereditary cancer syndromes are typically caused by mutations of a tumor suppressor gene that lead to the early development of multifocal benign neoplasms followed by their malignant progression. However, the term 'hereditary cancer syndrome' may be misleading, as a large subgroup of syndromes are characterized by highly penetrant benign tumors. The reason why these cardinal tumors rarely progress to malignancy has been an elusive question in cancer biology. In this opinion article, we propose a framework where a heterozygous tumor suppressor gene microenvironment has antagonistic roles in tumorigenesis, by accelerating development of benign tumors while restraining further progression to malignant cancers.
    Keywords:  MPNST; NF1; STK11; benign tumor; hereditary benign tumor syndromes; hereditary cancer; malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor; neurofibroma; tumor microenvironment; tumor suppressor gene
  15. Mol Cell. 2019 Aug 22. pii: S1097-2765(19)30622-7. [Epub ahead of print]
      The PTEN tumor suppressor is frequently mutated or deleted in cancer and regulates glucose metabolism through the PI3K-AKT pathway. However, whether PTEN directly regulates glycolysis in tumor cells is unclear. We demonstrate here that PTEN directly interacts with phosphoglycerate kinase 1 (PGK1). PGK1 functions not only as a glycolytic enzyme but also as a protein kinase intermolecularly autophosphorylating itself at Y324 for activation. The protein phosphatase activity of PTEN dephosphorylates and inhibits autophosphorylated PGK1, thereby inhibiting glycolysis, ATP production, and brain tumor cell proliferation. In addition, knockin expression of a PGK1 Y324F mutant inhibits brain tumor formation. Analyses of human glioblastoma specimens reveals that PGK1 Y324 phosphorylation levels inversely correlate with PTEN expression status and are positively associated with poor prognosis in glioblastoma patients. This work highlights the instrumental role of PGK1 autophosphorylation in its activation and PTEN protein phosphatase activity in governing glycolysis and tumorigenesis.
    Keywords:  PGK1; PTEN; autophosphorylation; glycolysis; tumorigenesis
  16. Diabetes. 2019 Sep 06. pii: db190560. [Epub ahead of print]
      Obesity-related insulin resistance (IR) may develop in multiple organs, representing different etiologies towards cardiometabolic diseases. We identified abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue (ScAT) transcriptome profiles in relation to liver or muscle IR by means of RNA sequencing in overweight/obese participants of the DiOGenes cohort (n=368). Tissue-specific IR phenotypes were derived from a 5-point oral glucose tolerance test. Hepatic and muscle IR were characterized by distinct abdominal ScAT transcriptome profiles. Genes related to extracellular remodeling were upregulated in individuals with primarily hepatic IR, whilst genes related to inflammation were upregulated in individuals with primarily muscle IR. In line with this, in two independent cohorts, CODAM (n=325) and the Maastricht Study (n=685), an increased systemic low-grade inflammation profile was specifically related to muscle IR, but not to liver IR. We propose that increased ScAT inflammatory gene expression may translate into an increased systemic inflammatory profile, linking ScAT inflammation to the muscle IR phenotype. These distinct IR phenotypes may provide leads for more personalized prevention of cardiometabolic diseases. DiOGenes was registered at as NCT00390637.
  17. Oncogene. 2019 Sep 02.
      The Hippo pathway has emerged as a key signaling pathway that regulates various biological functions. Dysregulation of the Hippo pathway has been implicated in a broad range of human cancer types. While a number of stimuli affecting the Hippo pathway have been reported, its upstream kinase and extracellular regulators remain largely unknown. Here we performed the first comprehensive gain-of-functional screen for receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) regulating the Hippo pathway using an RTK overexpression library and a Hippo signaling activity biosensor. Surprisingly, we found that the majority of RTKs could regulate the Hippo signaling activity. We further characterized several of these novel relationships [TAM family members (TYRO3, AXL, METRK), RET, and FGFR family members (FGFR1 and FGFR2)] and found that the Hippo effectors YAP/TAZ are central mediators of the tumorigenic phenotypes (e.g., increased cell proliferation, transformation, increased cell motility, and angiogenesis) induced by these RTKs and their extracellular ligands (Gas6, GDNF, and FGF) through either PI3K or MAPK signaling pathway. Significantly, we identify FGFR, RET, and MERTK as the first RTKs that can directly interact with and phosphorylate YAP/TAZ at multiple tyrosine residues independent of upstream Hippo signaling, thereby activating their functions in tumorigenesis. In conclusion, we have identified several novel kinases and extracellular stimuli regulating the Hippo pathway. Our findings also highlight the pivotal role of the Hippo pathway in mediating Gas6/GDNF/FGF-TAM/RET/FGFR-MAPK/PI3K signaling during tumorigenesis and provide a compelling rationale for targeting YAP/TAZ in RTK-driven cancers.
  18. Cell Metab. 2019 Sep 03. pii: S1550-4131(19)30445-0. [Epub ahead of print]30(3): 407-408
      Enhanced growth factor signaling is a hallmark of cancer, allowing cancer cells to thrive in a challenging environment. In this issue of Cell Metabolism, Bi et al. (2019) identify LPCAT1, a key membrane lipid remodeling enzyme, as a central link between genetically driven growth factor receptor expression, signaling, and tumor growth, highlighting lipid remodeling as a therapeutic target in cancer.