Cannabinoid action induces autophagy-mediated cell death through stimulation of ER stress in human glioma cells.
ABSTRACT: Autophagy can promote cell survival or cell death, but the molecular basis underlying its dual role in cancer remains obscure. Here we demonstrate that delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main active component of marijuana, induces human glioma cell death through stimulation of autophagy. Our data indicate that THC induced ceramide accumulation and eukaryotic translation initiation factor 2alpha (eIF2alpha) phosphorylation and thereby activated an ER stress response that promoted autophagy via tribbles homolog 3-dependent (TRB3-dependent) inhibition of the Akt/mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) axis. We also showed that autophagy is upstream of apoptosis in cannabinoid-induced human and mouse cancer cell death and that activation of this pathway was necessary for the antitumor action of cannabinoids in vivo. These findings describe a mechanism by which THC can promote the autophagic death of human and mouse cancer cells and provide evidence that cannabinoid administration may be an effective therapeutic strategy for targeting human cancers.
Project description:Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the third cause of cancer-related death worldwide. When these tumors are in advanced stages, few therapeutic options are available. Therefore, it is essential to search for new treatments to fight this disease. In this study, we investigated the effects of cannabinoids--a novel family of potential anticancer agents--on the growth of HCC. We found that ?(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (?(9)-THC, the main active component of Cannabis sativa) and JWH-015 (a cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB(2)) cannabinoid receptor-selective agonist) reduced the viability of the human HCC cell lines HepG2 (human hepatocellular liver carcinoma cell line) and HuH-7 (hepatocellular carcinoma cells), an effect that relied on the stimulation of CB(2) receptor. We also found that ?(9)-THC- and JWH-015-induced autophagy relies on tribbles homolog 3 (TRB3) upregulation, and subsequent inhibition of the serine-threonine kinase Akt/mammalian target of rapamycin C1 axis and adenosine monophosphate-activated kinase (AMPK) stimulation. Pharmacological and genetic inhibition of AMPK upstream kinases supported that calmodulin-activated kinase kinase ? was responsible for cannabinoid-induced AMPK activation and autophagy. In vivo studies revealed that ?(9)-THC and JWH-015 reduced the growth of HCC subcutaneous xenografts, an effect that was not evident when autophagy was genetically of pharmacologically inhibited in those tumors. Moreover, cannabinoids were also able to inhibit tumor growth and ascites in an orthotopic model of HCC xenograft. Our findings may contribute to the design of new therapeutic strategies for the management of HCC.
Project description:C/EBP homologous protein (CHOP) is a stress-inducible nuclear protein that is crucial for the development of programmed cell death and regeneration; however, the regulation of its function has not been well characterized. Slbo, a Drosophila homolog of C/EBP (CCAAT/enhancer binding protein), was shown to be unstabilized by tribbles. Here, we identified TRB3 as a tribbles ortholog in humans, which associated with CHOP to suppress the CHOP-dependent transactivation. TRB3 is induced by various forms endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress later than CHOP. Tunicamycin treatment enhanced the TRB3 promoter activity, while dominant-negative forms of CHOP suppressed the tunicamycin-induced activation. In addition, the tunicamycin response region in the TRB3 promoter contains amino-acid response elements overlapping the CHOP-binding site, and CHOP and ATF4 cooperated to activate this promoter activity. Knockdown of endogenous ATF4 or CHOP expression dramatically repressed tunicamycin-induced TRB3 induction. Furthermore, knockdown of TRB3 expression decreased ER stress-dependent cell death. These results indicate that TRB3 is a novel target of CHOP/ATF4 and downregulates its own induction by repression of CHOP/ATF4 functions, and that it is involved in CHOP-dependent cell death during ER stress.
Project description:Identifying the molecular mechanisms responsible for the resistance of gliomas to anticancer treatments is an issue of great therapeutic interest. ?(9)-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the major active ingredient of marijuana, and other cannabinoids inhibit tumor growth in animal models of cancer, including glioma, an effect that relies, at least in part, on the stimulation of autophagy-mediated apoptosis in tumor cells. Here, by analyzing the gene expression profile of a large series of human glioma cells with different sensitivity to cannabinoid action, we have identified a subset of genes specifically associated to THC resistance. One of these genes, namely that encoding the growth factor midkine (Mdk), is directly involved in the resistance of glioma cells to cannabinoid treatment. We also show that Mdk mediates its protective effect via the anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) receptor and that Mdk signaling through ALK interferes with cannabinoid-induced autophagic cell death. Furthermore, in vivo Mdk silencing or ALK pharmacological inhibition sensitizes cannabinod-resistant tumors to THC antitumoral action. Altogether, our findings identify Mdk as a pivotal factor involved in the resistance of glioma cells to THC pro-autophagic and antitumoral action, and suggest that selective targeting of the Mdk/ALK axis could help to improve the efficacy of antitumoral therapies for gliomas.
Project description:Mixed lineage kinases (MLKs) have been implicated in cytokine signaling as well as in cell death pathways. Our studies show that MLK3 is activated in leukocyte-infiltrated islets of non-obese diabetic mice and that MLK3 activation compromises mitochondrial integrity and induces apoptosis of beta cells. Using an ex vivo model of islet-splenocyte co-culture, we show that MLK3 mediates its effects via the pseudokinase TRB3, a mammalian homolog of Drosophila Tribbles. TRB3 expression strongly coincided with conformational change and mitochondrial translocation of BAX. Mechanistically, MLK3 directly interacted with and stabilized TRB3, resulting in inhibition of Akt, a strong suppressor of BAX translocation and mitochondrial membrane permeabilization. Accordingly, attenuation of MLK3 or TRB3 expression each prevented cytokine-induced BAX conformational change and attenuated the progression to apoptosis. We conclude that MLKs compromise mitochondrial integrity and suppress cellular survival mechanisms via TRB3-dependent inhibition of Akt.
Project description:Insufficient insulin secretion and reduced pancreatic beta cell mass are hallmarks of type 2 diabetes (T2DM). Here, we confirm that a previously identified polymorphism (rs2295490/Q84R) in exon 2 of the pseudokinase-encoding gene tribbles 3 (TRB3) is associated with an increased risk for T2DM in 2 populations of people of mixed European descent. Carriers of the 84R allele had substantially reduced plasma levels of C-peptide, the product of proinsulin processing to insulin, suggesting a role for TRB3 in beta cell function. Overexpression of TRB3 84R in mouse beta cells, human islet cells, and the murine beta cell line MIN6 revealed reduced insulin exocytosis, associated with a marked reduction in docked insulin granules visualized by electron microscopy. Conversely, knockdown of TRB3 in MIN6 cells restored insulin secretion and expression of exocytosis genes. Further analysis in MIN6 cells demonstrated that TRB3 interacted with the transcription factor ATF4 and that this complex acted as a competitive inhibitor of cAMP response element-binding (CREB) transcription factor in the regulation of key exocytosis genes. In addition, the 84R TRB3 variant exhibited greater protein stability than wild-type TRB3 and increased binding affinity to Akt. Mice overexpressing TRB3 84R in beta cells displayed decreased beta cell mass, associated with reduced proliferation and enhanced apoptosis rates. These data link a missense polymorphism in human TRB3 to impaired insulin exocytosis and thus increased risk for T2DM.
Project description:The neuroectodermal tumors neuroblastoma and melanoma represent biologically aggressive and chemoresistant cancers. The chemotherapeutic agents fenretinide and bortezomib induce apoptosis through endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress in these tumor types. The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that the early events of ER stress signaling and response pathways induced by fenretinide and bortezomib are mediated by the eukaryotic initiation factor 2alpha (eIF2alpha)-ATF4 signaling pathway. Treatment of neuroblastoma and melanoma cell lines with fenretinide, bortezomib, or thapsigargin resulted in induction of eIF2alpha signaling, characterized by increased expression of phosphorylated eIF2alpha, ATF4, ATF3, and GADD34. These events correlated with induction of the pro-apoptotic protein Noxa. The cytotoxic response, characterized by up-regulation of Noxa and cell death, was dependent on ATF4, but not the ER-related pro-death signaling pathways involving GADD153 or IRE1. Although PERK-dependent phosphorylation of eIF2alpha enhanced ATF4 protein levels during ER stress, cell death in response to fenretinide, bortezomib, or thapsigargin was not abrogated by inhibition of eIF2alpha phosphorylation through PERK knockdown or overexpression of wild-type eIF2alpha. Furthermore, ATF4 induction in response to ER stress was dependent primarily on transcriptional activation, which occurred in a PERK- and phosphorylated eIF2alpha-independent manner. These results demonstrate that ATF4 mediates ER stress-induced cell death of neuroectodermal tumor cells in response to fenretinide or bortezomib. Understanding the complex regulation of cell death pathways in response to ER stress-inducing drugs has the potential to reveal novel therapeutic targets, thus allowing the development of improved treatment strategies to overcome chemoresistance.
Project description:Chronic exposure to free fatty acids (FFAs) may induce ? cell apoptosis in type 2 diabetes. However, the precise mechanism by which FFAs trigger ? cell apoptosis is still unclear. Tribbles homolog 3 (TRB3) is a pseudokinase inhibiting Akt, a key mediator of insulin signaling, and contributes to insulin resistance in insulin target tissues. This paper outlined the role of TRB3 in FFAs-induced INS-1 ? cell apoptosis. TRB3 was promptly induced in INS-1 cells after stimulation by FFAs, and this was accompanied by enhanced INS-1 cell apoptosis. The overexpression of TRB3 led to exacerbated apoptosis triggered by FFAs in INS-1-derived cell line and the subrenal capsular transplantation animal model. In contrast, cell apoptosis induced by FFAs was attenuated when TRB3 was knocked down. Moreover, we observed that activation and nuclear accumulation of protein kinase C (PKC) ? was enhanced by upregulation of TRB3. Preventing PKC? nuclear translocation and PKC? selective antagonist both significantly lessened the pro-apoptotic effect. These findings suggest that TRB3 was involved in lipoapoptosis of INS-1 ? cell, and thus could be an attractive pharmacological target in the prevention and treatment of T2DM.
Project description:Expression of the Notch ligand Jagged 1 (JAG1) and Notch activation promote poor-prognosis in breast cancer. We used high throughput screens to identify elements responsible for Notch activation in this context. Chemical kinase inhibitor and kinase-specific small interfering RNA libraries were screened in a breast cancer cell line engineered to report Notch. Pathway analyses revealed MAPK-ERK signaling to be the predominant JAG1/Notch regulator and this was supported by gene set enrichment analyses in 51 breast cancer cell lines. In accordance with the chemical screen, kinome small interfering RNA high throughput screens identified Tribbles homolog 3 (TRB3), a known regulator of MAPK-ERK, among the most significant hits. We demonstrate that TRB3 is a master regulator of Notch through the MAPK-ERK and TGF? pathways. Complementary in vitro and in vivo studies underscore the importance of TRB3 for tumor growth. These data demonstrate a dominant role for TRB3 and MAPK-ERK/TGF? pathways as Notch regulators in breast cancer, establishing TRB3 as a potential therapeutic target.
Project description:The protein TRB3 (tribbles 3), also called NIPK (neuronal cell death-inducible protein kinase), was recently identified as a protein-protein interaction partner and an inhibitor of PKB (protein kinase B). To explore the hypothesis that TRB3/NIPK might act as a negative regulator of insulin signalling in the liver, this protein was overexpressed by adenoviral transduction of primary cultures of rat hepatocytes, and various aspects of insulin action were investigated. The insulin-induced phosphorylation of Ser-473 and Thr-308 of PKB was found to be undiminished in transduced hepatocytes with a molar excess of TRB3/NIPK over PKB of more than 25-fold. Consistent with unimpaired insulin activation of PKB, the stimulation of Ser-21 and Ser-9 phosphorylation of glycogen synthase kinase 3-alpha and -beta, and the apparent phosphorylation level of 4E-BP1 (eukaryotic initiation factor 4-binding protein 1), were similar in transduced and control hepatocytes. The induction by insulin of the mRNAs encoding glucokinase and SREBF1 (sterol-regulatory-element-binding factor 1) were also normal in TRB3/NIPK hepatocytes. In contrast, the insulin-dependent induction of these two genes, as well as the activation of PKB, were shown to be suppressed in hepatocytes treated with the lipid ether compound PIA6 (phosphatidylinositol ether lipid analogue 6), a recently discovered specific inhibitor of PKB. Since TRB3/NIPK was reported to be increased in the liver of fasting mice, the effects of glucagon, glucocorticoids and insulin on the level of endogenous TRB3/NIPK mRNA in primary hepatocytes were investigated. No significant change in mRNA level occurred under any of the hormonal treatments. The present study does not support the hypothesis that the physiological role of TRB3/NIPK might be to put a brake on insulin signalling in hepatocytes.
Project description:Tribbles (TRB)3 is an intracellular pseudokinase that modulates the activity of several signal transduction cascades. TRB3 has been reported to inhibit the activity of Akt protein kinases. TRB3 gene expression is highly regulated in many cell types, and amino acid starvation, hypoxia, or endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress promotes TRB3 expression in noncardiac cells.The objective of this work was to examine TRB3 expression and function in cultured cardiac myocytes and in mouse heart.Agents that induced ER stress increased TRB3 expression in cultured cardiac myocytes while blocking insulin-stimulated Akt activation in these cells. Knockdown of TRB3 in cultured cardiac myocytes reversed the effects of ER stress on insulin signaling. Experimental myocardial infarction led to increased TRB3 expression in murine heart tissue in the infarct border zone suggesting that ER stress may play a role in pathological cardiac remodeling. Transgenic mice with cardiac-specific overexpression of TRB3 were generated and they exhibited normal contractile function but altered cardiac signal transduction and metabolism with reduced cardiac glucose oxidation rates. Transgenic TRB3 mice were also sensitized to infarct expansion and cardiac myocyte apoptosis in the infarct border zone after myocardial infarction.These results demonstrate that TRB3 induction is a significant aspect of the ER stress response in cardiac myocytes and that TRB3 antagonizes cardiac glucose metabolism and cardiac myocyte survival.