- Erioflorin stabilizes the tumor suppressor Pdcd4 by inhibiting its interaction with the E3-ligase β-TrCP1 (2012)
- Loss of the tumor suppressor Pdcd4 was reported for various tumor entities and proposed as a prognostic marker in tumorigenesis. We previously characterized decreased Pdcd4 protein stability in response to mitogenic stimuli, which resulted from p70S6K1-dependent protein phosphorylation, β-TrCP1-mediated ubiquitination, and proteasomal destruction. Following high-throughput screening of natural product extract libraries using a luciferase-based reporter assay to monitor phosphorylation-dependent proteasomal degradation of the tumor suppressor Pdcd4, we succeeded in showing that a crude extract from Eriophyllum lanatum stabilized Pdcd4 from TPA-induced degradation. Erioflorin was identified as the active component and inhibited not only degradation of the Pdcd4-luciferase-based reporter but also of endogenous Pdcd4 at low micromolar concentrations. Mechanistically, erioflorin interfered with the interaction between the E3-ubiquitin ligase β-TrCP1 and Pdcd4 in cell culture and in in vitro binding assays, consequently decreasing ubiquitination and degradation of Pdcd4. Interestingly, while erioflorin stabilized additional β-TrCP-targets (such as IκBα and β-catenin), it did not prevent the degradation of targets of other E3-ubiquitin ligases such as p21 (a Skp2-target) and HIF-1α (a pVHL-target), implying selectivity for β-TrCP. Moreover, erioflorin inhibited the tumor-associated activity of known Pdcd4- and IκBα-regulated αtranscription factors, that is, AP-1 and NF-κB, altered cell cycle progression and suppressed proliferation of various cancer cell lines. Our studies succeeded in identifying erioflorin as a novel Pdcd4 stabilizer that inhibits the interaction of Pdcd4 with the E3-ubiquitin ligase β-TrCP1. Inhibition of E3-ligase/target-protein interactions may offer the possibility to target degradation of specific proteins only as compared to general proteasome inhibition.
- Identification of translationally deregulated proteins during inflammation-associated tumorigenesis (2012)
- The translation of mRNAs into proteins is an elaborate and highly regulated process. Translational regulation primarily takes place at the level of initiation. During initation the eukaryotic initiation factors (eIFs) form a complex that binds to the 5’end of the mRNA to scan for a start codon. Once recognized, the ribosome is recruited to the mRNA and protein synthesis starts. Initiation of translation can basically occur via two distinct mechanisms, i.e. cap-dependent and cap-independent that is mediated via internal ribosome entry sites (IRESs). The former is mediated by a 5’cap structure composed of a 7-methylguanylate which is added to every mRNA during transcription and recruits the initiation complex. IRES-dependent translation involves elements within the 5’untranslated region (UTR) of the mRNA that mostly bind IRES trans-acting factors (ITAFs) which associate either with the initiation complex or with the ribosome itself and consequently allow for internal initiation of translation. During tumorigenesis the demand for proteins is increased due to rapid cell growth, which consequently requires enhanced translation. Many factors that regulate translation are overexpressed in tumors. Moreover, signaling pathways that trigger translation or further hyperactivated by the surrounding tumor microenvironment. This environment is largely generated by infiltration of immune cells such as macrophages that secrete cytokines and other mediators to promote tumorigenesis. As the effects of inflammatory conditions on the translation of specific targets are only poorly characterized, my study aimed at identifying translationally deregulated targets during inflammation-associated tumorigenesis. For this purpose, I cocultured MCF7 breast tumor cells with conditioned medium of activated monocyte-derived U937 macrophages (CM). Polysome profiling and microarray analysis identified 42 targets to be regulated at the level of translation. The results were validated by quantitative PCR and one target - early growth response 2 (EGR2) - was chosen for in depth analysis of the mechanism leading to its enhanced translation. In order to identify upstream signaling molecules causing enhanced EGR2 protein synthesis the cytokine profile of CM was analyzed and the impact of several cytokines on EGR2 translation was examined. Preincubation of CM with neutralizing antibodies revealed that lowering interleukin 6 (IL-6) had only little effect, whereas depletion of IL 1β significantly reduced EGR2 translation. This finding was corroborated by the fact that treatment with recombinant IL-1β enhanced EGR2 translation to virtually the same extend as CM. Further experiments revealed that this effect was mediated via the p38-MAPK signaling cascade. Interestingly, I observed that the mTOR inhibitor rapamycin, which reduces cap-dependent translation, specifically stimulated EGR2 translation. This result argued for an IRES-dependent mechanism that might account for EGR2 translation. The use of bicistronic reporter assays verified this hypothesis. In line with the above mentioned results, CM, IL-1β and p38-MAPK induced EGR2-IRES activity. Since IRESs commonly require ITAFs to mediate translation initiation, the binding of proteins to the 5’UTR was analyzed using mass spectrometry. Among others, several previously described ITAFs, such as polypyrimidine tract-binding protein (PTB) and heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein A1 (hnRNP-A1) were identified to directly bind to the EGR2-5’UTR. Furthermore, overexpression of hnRNP-A1 enhanced EGR2-IRES activity whereas a dominant negative form of hnRNP-A1 significantly decreased it, thus, showing its importance for EGR2 translation. In summary, my data provide evidence that EGR2 expression can be controlled by IRES-dependent translational regulation, which is responsive to an inflammatory environment. The identified mechanism may not be exclusive for one target but might be representative for gene expression regulation mechanisms during tumorigenesis. This is of special interest for the treatment of cancer patients and development of more specific therapies to reduce tumor outcome.
- Inflammatory conditions induce IRES-dependent translation of cyp24a1 (2014)
- Rapid alterations in protein expression are commonly regulated by adjusting translation. In addition to cap-dependent translation, which is e.g. induced by pro-proliferative signaling via the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR)-kinase, alternative modes of translation, such as internal ribosome entry site (IRES)-dependent translation, are often enhanced under stress conditions, even if cap-dependent translation is attenuated. Common stress stimuli comprise nutrient deprivation, hypoxia, but also inflammatory signals supplied by infiltrating immune cells. Yet, the impact of inflammatory microenvironments on translation in tumor cells still remains largely elusive. In the present study, we aimed at identifying translationally deregulated targets in tumor cells under inflammatory conditions. Using polysome profiling and microarray analysis, we identified cyp24a1 (1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 24-hydroxylase) to be translationally upregulated in breast tumor cells co-cultured with conditioned medium of activated monocyte-derived macrophages (CM). Using bicistronic reporter assays, we identified and validated an IRES within the 5′ untranslated region (5′UTR) of cyp24a1, which enhances translation of cyp24a1 upon CM treatment. Furthermore, IRES-dependent translation of cyp24a1 by CM was sensitive to phosphatidyl-inositol-3-kinase (PI3K) inhibition, while constitutive activation of Akt sufficed to induce its IRES activity. Our data provide evidence that cyp24a1 expression is translationally regulated via an IRES element, which is responsive to an inflammatory environment. Considering the negative feedback impact of cyp24a1 on the vitamin D responses, the identification of a novel, translational mechanism of cyp24a1 regulation might open new possibilities to overcome the current limitations of vitamin D as tumor therapeutic option.