Direct quantification of polo-like kinase 1 activity in cells and tissues using a highly sensitive and specific ELISA assay.
ABSTRACT: Polo-like kinase 1 (Plk1) plays a pivotal role in the regulation of cellular proliferation. Plk1 is overexpressed in approximately 80% of human tumors of diverse origins, and overexpression of Plk1 promotes neoplastic transformation of human cells. A growing body of evidence suggests that deregulation of Plk1 closely correlates with prognosis of various cancers in humans. Thus, accurate assessment of Plk1 deregulation would provide clear clinical advantages. However, because of the limited amount of cancer tissues available, quantification of the Plk1 activity has not been feasible. Here, we report the development of a rapid, highly sensitive, and specific ELISA-based Plk1 assay that can quantify the level of Plk1 activity with a small amount (2-20 microg) of total cellular proteins. Unlike the conventional immunocomplex kinase assay, this assay directly utilizes total cellular lysates and does not require a Plk1 enrichment step such as immunoprecipitation or affinity purification. Using this assay, we demonstrated that Plk1 activity is elevated in tumors but not in the surrounding normal tissues and that the level of Plk1 activity significantly diminishes after an antiproliferative chemotherapy. The method described here may provide an innovative tool for assessing the predisposition for cancer development, monitoring early tumor response after therapy, and estimating the prognosis of patients with cancers from multiple organ sites.
Project description:Polo-like kinase 1 (Plk1) is a promising target for cancer therapy due to its essential role in cell division. In addition to a highly conserved kinase domain, Plk1 also contains a Polo-Box domain (PBD), which is essential for Plk1's subcellular localization and mitotic functions. We adopted a fluorescence polarization assay and identified a new Plk1 PBD inhibitor T521 from a small-molecule compound library. T521 specifically inhibits the PBD of Plk1, but not those of Plk2-3. T521 exhibits covalent binding to some lysine residues of Plk1 PBD, which causes significant changes in the secondary structure of Plk1 PBD. Using a cell-based assay, we showed that T521 impedes the interaction between Plk1 and Bub1, a mitotic checkpoint protein. Moreover, HeLa cells treated with T521 exhibited dramatic mitotic defects. Importantly, T521 suppresses the growth of A549 cells in xenograft nude mice. Taken together, we have identified a novel Plk1 inhibitor that specifically disrupts the functions of Plk1 PBD and shows anticancer activity.
Project description:Polo-like kinase 1 (PLK1) is overexpressed in various human cancers. However, the biological functions and the post-transcriptional regulations of PLK1 in esophageal cancer (EC) are still unknown. The purposes of our study are to determine whether PLK1 can be a molecular target of EC therapy and to identify a microRNA (miRNA) targeting PLK1. We performed loss-of-function and gain-of-function experiments regarding cell proliferation, cell cycle, apoptosis, in vivo tumor formation and luciferase reporter assays, using siRNAs against PLK1 and miRNA. PLK1 protein was expressed in all 11 EC cell lines, but not in normal esophageal epithelial cells (HEEpiC). Knockdown of PLK1 in EC cells induced G2/M arrest (p < 0.001) in cell cycle assay and reduced cell proliferation (p = 0.019) and tumor formation ability in vivo (p < 0.0001). MiR-593*, identified as a miRNA targeting PLK1 by a database search, was less expressed especially in six EC cell lines than HEEpiC cells. Moreover, miR-593* expression level was inversely correlated with PLK1 mRNA level in 48 clinical tissue specimens of EC (p = 0.006). Introduction of synthetic miR-593* suppressed PLK1 expression by 69-73%, reduced cell proliferation (p = 0.008) and increased cell proportion of G2/M phase (p = 0.01) in HSA/c (an EC cells), whereas a miR-593* inhibitor upregulated PLK1 expression by 11-55%. Additionally, luciferase assay demonstrated that miR-593* interacted two binding sites in the PLK1 3'-UTR and reduced 56.8-71.5% of luciferase activity by degrading luciferase mRNA in HSA/c cells. In conclusion, PLK1 is post-transcriptionally regulated by miR-593* and could be a promising molecular target for EC treatment.
Project description:The polo-box domain of polo-like kinase 1 (PLK1-PBD) is proved to have crucial roles in cell proliferation. Designing PLK1-PBD inhibitors is challenging due to their poor cellular penetration. In this study, we applied a virtual screening workflow based on a combination of structure-based pharmacophore modeling with molecular docking screening techniques, so as to discover potent PLK1-PBD peptide inhibitors. The resulting 9 virtual screening peptides showed affinities for PLK1-PBD in a competitive binding assay. In particular, peptide 5 exhibited an approximately 100-fold increase in inhibitory activity (IC50 = 70 nM), as compared with the control poloboxtide. Moreover, cell cycle experiments indicated that peptide 5 effectively inhibited the expression of p-Cdc25C and cell cycle regulatory proteins by affecting the function of PLK1-PBD, thereby inducing mitotic arrest at the G2/M phase. Overall, peptide 5 can serve as a potent lead for further investigation as PLK1-PBD inhibitors.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Polo-like kinase 1 (PLK1) is highly expressed in many human cancers and regulates critical steps in mitotic progression. Previously, we have reported that PLK1 was overexpressed in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), but the underlying molecular mechanisms are not well understood. By using microRNA (miR) target prediction algorithms, we identified miR-100 that might potentially bind the 3'-untranslated region of PLK1 transcripts. The purpose of this study was to investigate the roles of miR-100 and its association with PLK1 in NSCLC development. METHODS: Taqman real-time quantitative RT-PCR assay was performed to detect miR-100 expression 10 NSCLC tissues and corresponding nontumor tissues. Additionally, the expression of miR-100 in 110 NSCLC tissues and its correlation with clinicopathological factors or prognosis of patients was analyzed. Finally, the effects of miR-100 expression on growth, apoptosis and cell cycle of NSCLC cells by posttranscriptionally regulating PLK1 expression were determined. RESULTS: MiR-100 was significantly downregulated in NSCLC tissues, and low miR-100 expression was found to be closely correlated with higher clinical stage, advanced tumor classification and lymph node metastasis of patients. The overall survival of NSCLC patients with low miR-100 was significantly lower than that of those patients with high miR-100, and univariate and multivariate analyses indicated that low miR-100 expression might be a poor prognostic factor. Also, miR-100 mimics could lead to growth inhibition, G2/M cell cycle arrest and apoptosis enhancement in NSCLC cells. Meanwhile, miR-100 mimics could significantly inhibit PLK1 mRNA and protein expression and reduce the luciferase activity of a PLK1 3' untranslated region-based reporter construct in A549 cells. Furthermore, small interfering RNA (siRNA)-mediated PLK1 downregulation could mimic the effects of miR-100 mimics while PLK1 overexpression could partially rescue the phenotypical changes of NSCLC cells induced by miR-100 mimics. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings indicate that low miR-100 may be a poor prognostic factor for NSCLC patients and functions as a tumor suppressor by posttranscriptionally regulating PLK1 expression.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The Polo-like Kinase 1 (PLK1) protein regulates cell cycle progression and is overexpressed in many malignant tissues. Overexpression is associated with poor prognosis in several cancer entities, whereby expression of PLK1 shows high inter-individual variability. Although PLK1 is extensively studied, not much is known about the genetic variability of the PLK1 gene. The function of PLK1 and the expression of the corresponding gene could be influenced by genomic variations. Hence, we investigated the gene for functional polymorphisms. Such polymorphisms could be useful to investigate whether PLK1 alters the risk for and the course of cancer and they could have an impact on the response to PLK1 inhibitors. METHODS: The coding region, the 5' and 3'UTRs and the regulatory regions of PLK1 were systematically sequenced. We determined the allele frequencies and genotype distributions of putatively functional SNPs in 120 Caucasians and analyzed the linkage and haplotype structure using Haploview. The functional analysis included electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA) for detected variants of the silencer and promoter regions and reporter assays for a 3'UTR polymorphism. RESULTS: Four putatively functional polymorphisms were detected and further analyzed, one in the silencer region (rs57973275), one in the core promoter region (rs16972787), one in intron 3 (rs40076) and one polymorphism in the 3'untranslated region (3'UTR) of PLK1 (rs27770). Alleles of rs27770 display different secondary mRNA structures and showed a distinct allele-dependent difference in mRNA stability with a significantly higher reporter activity of the A allele (p?<?0.01). CONCLUSION: The present study provides evidence that at least one genomic variant of PLK1 has functional properties and influences expression of PLK1. This suggests polymorphisms of the PLK1 gene as an interesting target for further studies that might affect cancer risk, tumor progression as well as the response to PLK1 inhibitors.
Project description:The deregulation of Polo-like kinase 1 is inversely linked to the prognosis of patients with diverse human tumors. Targeting Polo-like kinase 1 has been widely considered as one of the most promising strategies for molecular anticancer therapy. While the preclinical results are encouraging, the clinical outcomes are rather less inspiring by showing limited anticancer activity. It is thus of importance to identify molecules and mechanisms responsible for the sensitivity of Polo-like kinase 1 inhibition. We have recently shown that p21Cip1/CDKN1A is involved in the regulation of mitosis and its loss prolongs the mitotic duration accompanied by defects in chromosome segregation and cytokinesis in various tumor cells. In the present study, we demonstrate that p21 affects the efficacy of Polo-like kinase 1 inhibitors, especially Poloxin, a specific inhibitor of the unique Polo-box domain. Intriguingly, upon treatment with Polo-like kinase 1 inhibitors, p21 is increased in the cytoplasm, associated with anti-apoptosis, DNA repair and cell survival. By contrast, deficiency of p21 renders tumor cells more susceptible to Polo-like kinase 1 inhibition by showing a pronounced mitotic arrest, DNA damage and apoptosis. Furthermore, long-term treatment with Plk1 inhibitors induced fiercely the senescent state of tumor cells with functional p21. We suggest that the p21 status may be a useful biomarker for predicting the efficacy of Plk1 inhibition.
Project description:Polo-like kinase 1 (PLK1) has been suggested to serve as oncogene in most human cancers. The aim of our study is to present more evidence about the clinical and prognostic value of PLK1 in lung squamous cell carcinoma patients. The status of PLK1 was observed in lung adenocarcinoma, lung squamous cell carcinoma and normal lung tissues through analyzing microarray data set (GEO accession number: GSE1213 and GSE 3627). PLK1 mRNA and protein expressions were detected in lung squamous cell carcinoma and normal lung tissues by using qRT-PCR and immunohistochemistry. In our results, the levels of PLK1 in lung squamous cell carcinoma tissues were higher than that in lung adenocarcinoma tissues. Compared with paired adjacent normal lung tissues, the PLK1 expression was increased in lung squamous cell carcinoma tissues. Furthermore, high-expression of PLK1 protein was correlated with differentiated degree, clinical stage, tumor size, lymph node metastasis, and distant metastasis. The univariate and multivariate analyses showed PLK1 protein high-expression was an unfavorable prognostic biomarker for lung squamous cell carcinoma patients. In conclusion, High-expression of PLK1 is associated with the aggressive progression and poor prognosis in lung squamous cell carcinoma patients.
Project description:Mitosis is choreographed by a number of protein kinases including polo-like kinases and Aurora kinases. As these kinases are frequently dysregulated in cancers, small-molecule inhibitors have been developed for targeted anticancer therapies. Given that PLK1 and Aurora kinases possess both unique functions as well as co-regulate multiple mitotic events, whether pharmacological inhibition of these kinases together can enhance mitotic catastrophe remains an outstanding issue to be determined. Using concentrations of inhibitors that did not induce severe mitotic defects on their own, we found that both the metaphase arrest and mitotic slippage induced by inhibitors targeting Aurora A and Aurora B (MK-5108 and Barasertib respectively) were enhanced by a PLK1 inhibitor (BI 2536). We found that PLK1 is overexpressed in cells from nasopharyngeal carcinoma, a highly invasive cancer with poor prognosis, in comparison to normal nasopharyngeal epithelial cells. Nasopharyngeal carcinoma cells were more sensitive to BI 2536 as a single agent and co-inhibition with Aurora kinases than normal cells. These observations underscore the mechanism and potential benefits of targeting PLK1 and Aurora kinases to induce mitotic catastrophe in cancer cells.
Project description:Rationale: Advanced nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is an aggressive disease with no targeted therapies and poor outcomes. New innovative targets are urgently needed. KLF4 has been extensively studied in the context of tumors, and current data suggest that it can act as either a tissue-specific tumor-inhibiting or a tumor-promoting gene. Here, we found that KLF4 played as a tumor-promoting gene in NPC, and could be mediated by PLK1. Methods: Tissue immunohistochemistry (IHC) assay was performed to identify the role of KLF4 in NPC. Global gene expression experiments were performed to explore the molecular mechanisms underlying KLF4-dependent tumorigenesis. Small-molecule kinase inhibitor screening was performed to identify potential upstream kinases of KLF4. The pharmacologic activity of polo-like kinase inhibitor volasertib (BI6727) in vitro and in vivo was determined. Result: Our investigation showed that high expression of KLF4 was correlated with poor prognosis in NPC. Moreover, genome-wide profiling revealed that KLF4 directly activated oncogenic programmes, including gene sets associated with KRAS, VEGF, and MYC signalling. We further found that inhibition of polo-like kinase 1 could downregulate the expression of KLF4 and that PLK1 directly phosphorylated KLF4 at Ser234. Notably, phosphorylation of KLF4 by PLK1 caused the recruitment and binding of the E3 ligase TRAF6, which resulted in KLF4 K32 K63-linked ubiquitination and stabilization. Moreover, KLF4 could enhance TRAF6 expression at the transcriptional level, thus initiating a KLF4-TRAF6 feed-forward loop. Treatment with the PLK1 inhibitor volasertib (BI6727) significantly inhibited tumor growth in nude mice. Conclusion: Our study unveiled a new PLK1-TRAF6-KLF4 feed-forward loop. The resulting increase in KLF4 ubiquitination leads to stabilization and upregulation of KLF4, which leads to tumorigenesis in NPC. These results expand our understanding of the role of KLF4 in NPC and validate PLK1 inhibitors as potential therapeutic agents for NPC, especially cancer patients with KLF4 overexpression.
Project description:Rhabdomyosarcomas are the most common pediatric soft tissue sarcoma and are a major cause of death from cancer in young patients requiring new treatment options to improve outcomes. High-risk patients include those with metastatic or relapsed disease and tumors with PAX3-FOXO1 fusion genes that encode a potent transcription factor that drives tumourigenesis through transcriptional reprogramming. Polo-Like Kinase-1 (PLK1) is a serine/threonine kinase that phosphorylates a wide range of target substrates and alters their activity. PLK1 functions as a pleiotropic master regulator of mitosis and regulates DNA replication after stress. Taken together with high levels of expression that correlate with poor outcomes in many cancers, including rhabdomyosarcomas, it is an attractive therapeutic target. This is supported in rhabdomyosarcoma models by characterization of molecular and phenotypic effects of reducing and inhibiting PLK1, including changes to the PAX3-FOXO1 fusion protein. However, as tumor re-growth has been observed, combination strategies are required. Here we review preclinical evidence and consider biological rationale for PLK1 inhibition in combination with drugs that promote apoptosis, interfere with activity of PAX3-FOXO1 and are synergistic with microtubule-destabilizing drugs such as vincristine. The preclinical effects of low doses of the PLK1 inhibitor volasertib in combination with vincristine, which is widely used in rhabdomyosarcoma treatment, show particular promise in light of recent clinical data in the pediatric setting that support achievable volasertib doses predicted to be effective. Further development of novel therapeutic strategies including PLK1 inhibition may ultimately benefit young patients with rhabdomyosarcoma and other cancers.