Targeted inhibition of mammalian target of rapamycin signaling inhibits tumorigenesis of colorectal cancer.
ABSTRACT: The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) kinase acts downstream of phosphoinositide 3-kinase/Akt to regulate cellular growth, metabolism, and cytoskeleton. Because approximately 60% of sporadic colorectal cancers (CRC) exhibit high levels of activated Akt, we determined whether downstream mTOR signaling pathway components are overexpressed and activated in CRCs.HCT116, KM20, Caco-2, and SW480 human CRC cells were used to determine the effects of pharmacologic (using rapamycin) or genetic (using RNAi) blockade of mTOR signaling on cell proliferation, apoptosis, cell cycle progression, and subcutaneous growth in vivo.We show that the mTOR complex proteins mTOR, Raptor, and Rictor are overexpressed in CRC. Treatment with rapamycin significantly decreased proliferation of certain CRC cell lines (rapamycin sensitive), whereas other cell lines were resistant to its effects (rapamycin resistant). Transient siRNA-mediated knockdown of the mTORC2 protein, Rictor, significantly decreased proliferation of both rapamycin-sensitive and rapamycin-resistant CRC cells. Stable shRNA-mediated knockdown of both mTORC1 and mTORC2 decreased proliferation, increased apoptosis, and attenuated cell cycle progression in rapamycin-sensitive CRCs. Moreover, stable knockdown of both mTORC1 and mTORC2 decreased proliferation and attenuated cell cycle progression, whereas only mTORC2 knockdown increased apoptosis in rapamycin-resistant CRCs. Finally, knockdown of both mTORC1 and mTORC2 inhibited growth of rapamycin-sensitive and rapamycin-resistant CRCs in vivo when implanted as tumor xenografts.Targeted inhibition of the mTORC2 protein, Rictor, leads to growth inhibition and induces apoptosis in both rapamycin-sensitive and rapamycin-resistant CRCs, suggesting that selective targeting of mTORC2 may represent a novel therapeutic strategy for treatment of CRC.
Project description:Mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) complex 2 (mTORC2) plays an essential role in regulating cell proliferation through phosphorylating AGC protein kinase family members, including AKT, PKC and SGK1. The functional core complex consists of mTOR, mLST8, and two mTORC2-specific components, Rictor and mSin1. Here we investigated the intermolecular interactions within mTORC2 complex and determined its cryo-electron microscopy structure at 4.9?Å resolution. The structure reveals a hollow rhombohedral fold with a 2-fold symmetry. The dimerized mTOR serves as a scaffold for the complex assembly. The N-terminal half of Rictor is composed of helical repeat clusters and binds to mTOR through multiple contacts. mSin1 is located close to the FRB domain and catalytic cavity of mTOR. Rictor and mSin1 together generate steric hindrance to inhibit binding of FKBP12-rapamycin to mTOR, revealing the mechanism for rapamycin insensitivity of mTORC2. The mTOR dimer in mTORC2 shows more compact conformation than that of mTORC1 (rapamycin sensitive), which might result from the interaction between mTOR and Rictor-mSin1. Structural comparison shows that binding of Rictor and Raptor (mTORC1-specific component) to mTOR is mutually exclusive. Our study provides a basis for understanding the assembly of mTORC2 and a framework to further characterize the regulatory mechanism of mTORC2 pathway.
Project description:The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) has emerged as an important therapeutic target for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), as recent studies have demonstrated that 30% of relapsed patients respond to mTOR inhibitors. Why some lymphomas are resistant is incompletely understood. In the present study, we demonstrated that rapamycin inhibits mTORC1 in DLBCL lines and primary tumors but is minimally cytotoxic. Subsequent investigations revealed that rapamycin also activated eIF4E and the mTORC2 target Akt, suggesting a potential mechanism of rapamycin resistance. Furthermore, knockdown of the mTORC2 component rictor, but not the mTORC1 component raptor, inhibited rapamycin-induced Akt phosphorylation in lymphoma cells. Addition of the histone deacetylase inhibitor (HDI) LBH589 (LBH) overcame rapamycin resistance by blocking mTOR, thus preventing Akt activation. Further studies support the involvement of the protein phosphatase PP1 in LBH-mediated Akt dephosphorylation, which could be mimicked by knockdown of HDAC3. This is the first demonstration that a HDI such as LBH can overcome rapamycin resistance through a phosphatase that antagonizes mTORC2 activation. These results provide a mechanistic rationale for a clinical trial of a combination of HDI and mTOR inhibitors for DLBCL.
Project description:UV radiation is the major risk factor for developing skin cancer, the most prevalent cancer worldwide. Several studies indicate that mTOR signaling is activated by UVB and may play an important role in skin tumorigenesis. mTOR exists in two functionally and compositionally distinct protein complexes: the rapamycin-sensitive mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1) and the rapamycin-resistant mTOR complex 2 (mTORC2). The purpose of these studies was to investigate the roles of the two mTOR complexes in UVB-mediated proliferation and apoptosis in the skin. We used rapamycin, a pharmacologic inhibitor of mTORC1, and an inducible mTOR-deficient (K5-CreER(T2);mTOR(fl/fl)) mouse model that allows epidermal-specific disruption of mTOR following topical treatment with 4-hydroxytamoxifen (4OHT). Rapamycin blocked UVB-induced phosphorylation of S6K, the downstream target of mTORC1, and significantly reduced UVB-stimulated epidermal proliferation and cell-cycle progression, but had no effect on cell death. In contrast, mTOR deletion, which attenuated UVB-induced phosphorylation of both S6K and the mTORC2 target AKT(Ser473), significantly increased apoptosis both in vivo and in keratinocyte cultures, in addition to reducing hyperproliferation following UVB irradiation. The role of mTORC2 in UVB-induced prosurvival signaling was verified in Rictor(-/-) mouse embryo fibroblasts, which lack functional mTORC2 and were more sensitive to UVB-induced apoptosis than controls. These studies show that mTORC1 and mTORC2 play unique but complementary roles in controlling proliferation and apoptosis in the skin. Our findings underscore the importance of both mTOR complexes in mediating UVB-induced signaling in keratinocytes and provide new insight into the pathogenesis of skin cancer.
Project description:Rapamycin, an inhibitor of the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR), robustly extends the lifespan of model organisms including mice. We recently found that chronic treatment with rapamycin not only inhibits mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1), the canonical target of rapamycin, but also inhibits mTOR complex 2 (mTORC2) in vivo. While genetic evidence strongly suggests that inhibition of mTORC1 is sufficient to promote longevity, the impact of mTORC2 inhibition on mammalian longevity has not been assessed. RICTOR is a protein component of mTORC2 that is essential for its activity. We examined three different mouse models of Rictor loss: mice heterozygous for Rictor, mice lacking hepatic Rictor, and mice in which Rictor was inducibly deleted throughout the body in adult animals. Surprisingly, we find that depletion of RICTOR significantly decreases male, but not female, lifespan. While the mechanism by which RICTOR loss impairs male survival remains obscure, we find that the effect of RICTOR depletion on lifespan is independent of the role of hepatic mTORC2 in promoting glucose tolerance. Our results suggest that inhibition of mTORC2 signaling is detrimental to males, which may explain in part why interventions that decrease mTOR signaling show greater efficacy in females.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a downstream substrate activated by PI3K/AKT pathway and it is essential for cell migration. It exists as two complexes: mTORC1 and mTORC2. mTORC1 is known to be regulated by active AKT, but the activation of mTORC2 is poorly understood. In this study, we investigated the roles and differential activation of the two mTOR complexes during cell migration in prostate cancer cells. METHODS:We used small interfering RNA to silence the expression of Rac1 and the main components of mTOR complexes (regulatory associated protein of mTOR [RAPTOR] and rapamycin-insensitive companion of mTOR [RICTOR]) in LNCaP, DU145, and PC3 prostate cancer cell lines. We performed transwell migration assay to evaluate the migratory capability of the cells, and Western blot analysis to study the activation levels of mTOR complexes. RESULTS:Specific knockdown of RAPTOR and RICTOR caused a decrease of cell migration, suggesting their essential role in prostate cancer cell movement. Furthermore, epidermal growth factor (EGF) treatments induced the activation of both the mTOR complexes. Lack of Rac1 activity in prostate cancer cells blocked EGF-induced activation of mTORC2, but had no effect on mTORC1 activation. Furthermore, the overexpression of constitutively active Rac1 resulted in significant increase in cell migration and activation of mTORC2 in PC3 cells, but had no effect on mTORC1 activation. Active Rac1 was localized in the plasma membrane and was found to be in a protein complex, with RICTOR, but not RAPTOR. CONCLUSION:We suggest that EGF-induced activation of Rac1 causes the activation of mTORC2 via RICTOR. This mechanism plays a critical role in prostate cancer cell migration.
Project description:The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) functions within two distinct complexes (mTORC1 and mTORC2) to control cell growth, proliferation, survival, and metabolism. While there has been great progress in our understanding of mTORC1 regulation, the signaling mechanisms that regulate mTORC2 have not been defined. In this study, we use liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry analyses to identify 21 phosphorylation sites on the core mTORC2 component Rictor. We find that one site, T1135, undergoes growth factor-responsive phosphorylation that is acutely sensitive to rapamycin and is phosphorylated downstream of mTORC1. We find that Rictor-T1135 is directly phosphorylated by the mTORC1-dependent kinase S6K1. Although this phosphorylation event does not affect mTORC2 integrity or in vitro kinase activity, expression of a phosphorylation site mutant of Rictor (T1135A) in either wild-type or Rictor null cells causes an increase in the mTORC2-dependent phosphorylation of Akt on S473. However, Rictor-T1135 phosphorylation does not appear to regulate mTORC2-mediated effects on SGK1 or PKC alpha. While the precise molecular mechanism affecting Akt is unknown, phosphorylation of T1135 stimulates binding of Rictor to 14-3-3 proteins. We provide evidence that Rictor-T1135 phosphorylation acts in parallel with other mTORC1-dependent feedback mechanisms, such as those affecting IRS-1 signaling to PI3K, to regulate the response of Akt to insulin.
Project description:OBJECTIVE: Tetrameric ?(2)-macroglobulin (?(2)M), a plasma panproteinase inhibitor, is activated upon interaction with a proteinase, and undergoes a major conformational change exposing a receptor recognition site in each of its subunits. Activated ?(2)M (?(2)M*) binds to cancer cell surface GRP78 and triggers proliferative and antiapoptotic signaling. We have studied the role of ?(2)M* in the regulation of mTORC1 and TORC2 signaling in the growth of human prostate cancer cells. METHODS: Employing immunoprecipitation techniques and Western blotting as well as kinase assays, activation of the mTORC1 and mTORC2 complexes, as well as down stream targets were studied. RNAi was also employed to silence expression of Raptor, Rictor, or GRP78 in parallel studies. RESULTS: Stimulation of cells with ?(2)M* promotes phosphorylation of mTOR, TSC2, S6-Kinase, 4EBP, Akt(T308), and Akt(S473) in a concentration and time-dependent manner. Rheb, Raptor, and Rictor also increased. ?(2)M* treatment of cells elevated mTORC1 kinase activity as determined by kinase assays of mTOR or Raptor immunoprecipitates. mTORC1 activity was sensitive to LY294002 and rapamycin or transfection of cells with GRP78 dsRNA. Down regulation of Raptor expression by RNAi significantly reduced ?(2)M*-induced S6-Kinase phosphorylation at T389 and kinase activity in Raptor immunoprecipitates. ?(2)M*-treated cells demonstrate about a twofold increase in mTORC2 kinase activity as determined by kinase assay of Akt(S473) phosphorylation and levels of p-Akt(S473) in mTOR and Rictor immunoprecipitates. mTORC2 activity was sensitive to LY294002 and transfection of cells with GRP78 dsRNA, but insensitive to rapamycin. Down regulation of Rictor expression by RNAi significantly reduces ?(2)M*-induced phosphorylation of Akt(S473) phosphorylation in Rictor immunoprecipitates. CONCLUSION: Binding of ?(2)M* to prostate cancer cell surface GRP78 upregulates mTORC1 and mTORC2 activation and promotes protein synthesis in the prostate cancer cells.
Project description:The mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin) inhibitor rapamycin caused growth arrest in both androgen-dependent and androgen-independent prostate cancer cells; however, long-term treatment induced resistance to the drug. The aim of this study was to investigate methods that can overcome this resistance. Here, we show that rapamycin treatment stimulated androgen receptor (AR) transcriptional activity, whereas suppression of AR activity with the antiandrogen bicalutamide sensitized androgen-dependent, as well as AR-sensitive androgen-independent prostate cancer cells, to growth inhibition by rapamycin. Further, the combination of rapamycin and bicalutamide, but not the individual drugs, induced significant levels of apoptosis in prostate cancer cells. The net effect of rapamycin is determined by its individual effects on the mTOR complexes mTORC1 (mTOR/raptor/GbetaL) and mTORC2 (mTOR/rictor/sin1/GbetaL). Inhibition of both mTORC1 and mTORC2 by rapamycin-induced apoptosis, whereas rapamycin-stimulation of AR transcriptional activity resulted from the inhibition of mTORC1, but not mTORC2. The effect of rapamycin on AR transcriptional activity was mediated by the phosphorylation of the serine/threonine kinase Akt, which also partially mediated apoptosis induced by rapamycin and bicalutamide. These results indicate the presence of two parallel cell-survival pathways in prostate cancer cells: a strong Akt-independent, but rapamycin-sensitive pathway downstream of mTORC1, and an AR-dependent pathway downstream of mTORC2 and Akt, that is stimulated by mTORC1 inhibition. Thus, the combination of rapamycin and bicalutamide induce apoptosis in prostate cancer cells by simultaneously inhibiting both pathways and hence would be of therapeutic value in prostate cancer treatment.
Project description:The mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin) protein kinase is an important regulator of cell growth. Two complexes of mTOR have been identified: complex 1, consisting of mTOR-Raptor (regulatory associated protein of mTOR)-mLST8 (termed mTORC1), and complex 2, comprising mTOR-Rictor (rapamycininsensitive companion of mTOR)-mLST8-Sin1 (termed mTORC2). mTORC1 phosphorylates the p70 ribosomal S6K (S6 kinase) at its hydrophobic motif (Thr389), whereas mTORC2 phosphorylates PKB (protein kinase B) at its hydrophobic motif (Ser473). In the present study, we report that widely expressed isoforms of unstudied proteins termed Protor-1 (protein observed with Rictor-1) and Protor-2 interact with Rictor and are components of mTORC2. We demonstrate that immunoprecipitation of Protor-1 or Protor-2 results in the co-immunoprecipitation of other mTORC2 subunits, but not Raptor, a specific component of mTORC1. We show that detergents such as Triton X-100 or n-octylglucoside dissociate mTOR and mLST8 from a complex of Protor-1, Sin1 and Rictor. We also provide evidence that Rictor regulates the expression of Protor-1, and that Protor-1 is not required for the assembly of other mTORC2 subunits into a complex. Protor-1 is a novel Rictor-binding subunit of mTORC2, but further work is required to establish its role.
Project description:The splicing factor SF2/ASF is an oncoprotein that is up-regulated in many cancers and can transform immortal rodent fibroblasts when slightly overexpressed. The mTOR signaling pathway is activated in many cancers, and pharmacological blockers of this pathway are in clinical trials as anticancer drugs. We examined the activity of the mTOR pathway in cells transformed by SF2/ASF and found that this splicing factor activates the mTORC1 branch of the pathway, as measured by S6K and eIF4EBP1 phosphorylation. This activation is specific to mTORC1 because no activation of Akt, an mTORC2 substrate, was detected. mTORC1 activation by SF2/ASF bypasses upstream PI3K/Akt signaling and is essential for SF2/ASF-mediated transformation, as inhibition of mTOR by rapamycin blocked transformation by SF2/ASF in vitro and in vivo. Moreover, shRNA-mediated knockdown of mTOR, or of the specific mTORC1 and mTORC2 components Raptor and Rictor, abolished the tumorigenic potential of cells overexpressing SF2/ASF. These results suggest that clinical tumors with SF2/ASF up-regulation could be especially sensitive to mTOR inhibitors.