Human chorionic gonadotropin stimulates theca-interstitial cell proliferation and cell cycle regulatory proteins by a cAMP-dependent activation of AKT/mTORC1 signaling pathway.
ABSTRACT: In addition to playing a cardinal role in androgen production, LH also regulates growth and proliferation of theca-interstitial (T-I) cells. Here, we show for the first time that LH/human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) regulates T-I cell proliferation via the mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) signaling network. LH/hCG treatment showed a time-dependent stimulation of T-I cell proliferation and phosphorylation of protein kinase B (AKT), ERK1/2, and ribosomal protein (rp)S6 kinase 1 (S6K1), and its downstream effector, rpS6. Pharmacological inhibition of ERK1/2 signaling did not block the hCG-induced phosphorylation of tuberin, the upstream regulator of mTORC1 or S6K1, the downstream target of mTORC1. However, inhibition of AKT signaling completely blocked the hCG response. Furthermore, the AKT-specific inhibitor abolished forskolin (FSK)-stimulated phosphorylation of AKT, tuberin, S6K1, and rpS6. Human CG and FSK-mediated phosphorylation of AKT and downstream targets of mTORC1 were attenuated by inhibition of adenylyl cyclase. Pharmacologic targeting of mTORC1 with rapamycin also abrogated hCG or FSK-induced phosphorylation of S6K1, rpS6, and eukaryotic initiation factor 4E binding protein 1. In addition, hCG or FSK-mediated up-regulation of the cell cycle regulatory proteins cyclin-dependent kinase 4, cyclin D3, and proliferating cell nuclear antigen was blocked by rapamycin. These results were further confirmed by demonstrating that knockdown of mTORC1 using small interfering RNA abolished hCG-mediated increases in cell proliferation and the expression of cyclin D3 and proliferating cell nuclear antigen. Taken together, the present studies show a novel intracellular signaling pathway for T-I cell proliferation involving LH/hCG-mediated activation of the AKT/mTORC1 signaling cascade.
Project description:LH triggers the biosynthesis of androgens in the theca-interstitial (T-I) cells of ovary through the activation of a cAMP-dependent pathway. We have previously shown that LH/human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) activates mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) signaling network, leading to cell proliferation. In the present study, we provide evidence that the LH/hCG-mediated activation of the mTORC1 signaling cascade is involved in the regulation of steroidogenic enzymes in androgen biosynthesis. Treatment with LH/hCG increased the expression of downstream targets of mTORC1, ribosomal protein S6 kinase 1, and eukaryotic initiation factor 4E as well as steroidogenic enzymes. LH/hCG-mediated stimulation of the steroidogenic enzyme mRNA was blocked by the mTORC1 inhibitor, rapamycin. This inhibitory effect was selective because rapamycin failed to block hCG-mediated increase in the expression of Star mRNA levels. Furthermore, pharmacological targeting of mTORC1 with rapamycin also blocked LH/hCG- or forskolin-induced expression of cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB) and steroidogenic enzymes (P450 side-chain cleavage enzyme, 3?-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1, and 17?-hydroxylase/17,20 lyase) but produced no effect on steroidogenic acute regulatory protein levels. These results were further confirmed by demonstrating that the knockdown of mTOR using small interfering RNA selectively abrogated the LH/hCG-induced increase in steroidogenic enzyme expression, without affecting steroidogenic acute regulatory protein expression. LH/hCG-stimulated androgen production was also blocked by rapamycin. Furthermore, the pharmacological inhibition of mTORC1 or ribosomal protein S6 kinase 1 signaling prevented the LH/hCG-induced phosphorylation of CREB. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assays revealed the association of CREB with the proximal promoter of the Cyp17a1 gene in response to hCG, and this association was reduced by rapamycin treatment. Taken together, our findings show for the first time that LH/hCG-mediated activation of androgen biosynthesis is regulated by the mTORC1 signaling pathway in T-I cells.
Project description:Lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM) is a destructive lung disease of women associated with the metastasis of tuberin-null cells with hyperactive mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) activity. Clinical trials with the mTORC1 inhibitor rapamycin have revealed partial efficacy but are not curative. Pregnancy appears to exacerbate LAM, suggesting that estrogen (E2) may play a role in the unique features of LAM. Using a LAM patient-derived cell line (bearing biallelic Tuberin inactivation), we demonstrate that E2 stimulates a robust and biphasic activation of ERK2 and transcription of the late response-gene Fra1 associated with epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition. In a carefully orchestrated collaboration, activated mTORC1/S6K1 signaling enhances the efficiency of Fra1 translation of Fra1 mRNA transcribed by the E2-ERK2 pathway, through the phosphorylation of the S6K1-dependent eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4B. Our results indicate that targeting the E2-ERK pathway in combination with the mTORC1 pathway may be an effective combination therapy for LAM.
Project description:The molecular mechanism underlying renal hypertrophy and progressive nephron damage remains poorly understood. Here we generated congenic ribosomal protein S6 (rpS6) knock-in mice expressing nonphosphorylatable rpS6 and found that uninephrectomy-induced renal hypertrophy was significantly blunted in these knock-in mice. Uninephrectomy-induced increases in cyclin D1 and decreases in cyclin E in the remaining kidney were attenuated in the knock-in mice compared with their wild-type littermates. Uninephrectomy induced rpS6 phosphorylation in the wild-type mice; however, no rpS6 phosphorylation was detected in uninephrectomized or sham-operated knock-in mice. Nonetheless, uninephrectomy stimulated comparable 4E-BP1 phosphorylation in both knock-in and wild-type mice, indicating that mTORC1 was still activated in the knock-in mice. Moreover, the mTORC1 inhibitor rapamycin prevented both rpS6 and 4E-BP1 phosphorylation, significantly blunted uninephrectomy-induced renal hypertrophy in wild-type mice, but did not prevent residual renal hypertrophy despite inhibiting 4E-BP1 phosphorylation in uninephrectomized knock-in mice. Thus, both genetic and pharmacological approaches unequivocally demonstrate that phosphorylated rpS6 is a downstream effector of the mTORC1-S6K1 signaling pathway mediating renal hypertrophy. Hence, rpS6 phosphorylation facilitates the increase in cyclin D1 and decrease in cyclin E1 that underlie the hypertrophic nature of uninephrectomy-induced kidney growth.
Project description:The mTORC1 pathway is required for both the terminal muscle differentiation and hypertrophy by controlling the mammalian translational machinery via phosphorylation of S6K1 and 4E-BP1. mTOR and S6K1 are connected by interacting with the eIF3 initiation complex. The regulatory subunit eIF3f plays a major role in muscle hypertrophy and is a key target that accounts for MAFbx function during atrophy. Here we present evidence that in MAFbx-induced atrophy the degradation of eIF3f suppresses S6K1 activation by mTOR, whereas an eIF3f mutant insensitive to MAFbx polyubiquitination maintained persistent phosphorylation of S6K1 and rpS6. During terminal muscle differentiation a conserved TOS motif in eIF3f connects mTOR/raptor complex, which phosphorylates S6K1 and regulates downstream effectors of mTOR and Cap-dependent translation initiation. Thus eIF3f plays a major role for proper activity of mTORC1 to regulate skeletal muscle size.
Project description:Feedback inhibition of the PI3K-Akt pathway by the mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) has emerged as an important signaling event in tumor syndromes, cancer, and insulin resistance. Cells lacking the tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) gene products are a model for this feedback regulation. We find that, despite Akt attenuation, the Akt substrate GSK3 is constitutively phosphorylated in cells and tumors lacking TSC1 or TSC2. In these settings, GSK3 phosphorylation is sensitive to mTORC1 inhibition by rapamycin or amino acid withdrawal, and GSK3 becomes a direct target of S6K1. This aberrant phosphorylation leads to decreased GSK3 activity and phosphorylation of downstream substrates and contributes to the growth-factor-independent proliferation of TSC-deficient cells. We find that GSK3 can also be regulated downstream of mTORC1 in a HepG2 model of cellular insulin resistance. Therefore, we define conditions in which S6K1, rather than Akt, is the predominant GSK3 regulatory kinase.
Project description:The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is an evolutionarily conserved Ser/Thr kinase that comprises two complexes, termed mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1) and mTOR complex 2 (mTORC2). mTORC1 phosphorylates S6K1 at Thr 389, whereas mTORC2 phosphorylates AKT at Ser 473 to promote cell growth. As the mTOR name implies it is the target of natural product called rapamycin, a clinically approved drug used to treat human disease. Short-term rapamycin treatment inhibits the kinase activity of mTORC1 but not mTORC2. However, the ATP-competitive catalytic mTOR inhibitor Torin1 was identified to inhibit the kinase activity of both mTORC1 and mTORC2. Here, we report that H89 (N-(2-(4-bromocinnamylamino) ethyl)-5-isoquinolinesulfonamide), a well-characterized ATP-mimetic kinase inhibitor, renders the phosphorylation of S6K1 and AKT resistant to mTOR inhibitors across multiple cell lines. Moreover, H89 prevented the dephosphorylation of AKT and S6K1 under nutrient depleted conditions. PKA and other known H89-targeted kinases do not alter the phosphorylation status of S6K1 and AKT. Pharmacological inhibition of some phosphatases also enhanced S6K1 and AKT phosphorylation. These findings suggest a new target for H89 by which it sustains the phosphorylation status of S6K1 and AKT, resulting in mTOR signaling.
Project description:Ag-dependent activation of naive T cells induces dramatic changes in cellular metabolism that are essential for cell growth, division, and differentiation. In recent years, the serine/threonine kinase mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) has emerged as a key integrator of signaling pathways that regulate these metabolic processes. However, the role of specific downstream effectors of mTOR function in T cells is poorly understood. Ribosomal protein S6 (rpS6) is an essential component of the ribosome and is inducibly phosphorylated following mTOR activation in eukaryotic cells. In the current work, we addressed the role of phosphorylation of rpS6 as an effector of mTOR function in T cell development, growth, proliferation, and differentiation using knockin and TCR transgenic mice. Surprisingly, we demonstrate that rpS6 phosphorylation is not required for any of these processes either in vitro or in vivo. Indeed, rpS6 knockin mice are completely sensitive to the inhibitory effects of rapamycin and an S6 kinase 1 (S6K1)-specific inhibitor on T cell activation and proliferation. These results place the mTOR complex 1-S6K1 axis as a crucial determinant of T cell activation independently of its ability to regulate rpS6 phosphorylation.
Project description:There is tight coupling between Akt activation and suppression of cell death. Full Akt activation requires mammalian target of rapamycin complex 2 (mTORC2), but the regulation of mTORC2 is unclear.To gain new insights into mechanisms of mTORC2/Akt signaling.The role of mTORC2 in cardioprotection was examined. In perfused mouse hearts, ischemic preconditioning increased mTORC2 activity, leading to phosphorylation of Akt on Ser473. The protective effect of ischemic preconditioning was lost by pretreatment with dual mTORC inhibitors but not with rapamycin, an mTORC1 inhibitor, which indicates the fundamental role of mTORC2 activation in cardioprotection. Next, the regulation and downstream targets of mTORC2/Akt signaling were explored. We have found that ischemic preconditioning and other Akt activators (insulin and opioids) result in phosphorylation of ribosomal protein S6 (Rps6) at Ser235/236 in mouse hearts and neonatal rat ventricular myocytes. Rps6 interacts with components of mTORC2, and siRNA-mediated knockdown of Rps6 attenuates insulin-induced mTORC2 activation and Akt-Ser473 phosphorylation. On the other hand, Rps6 overexpression enhanced Akt-Ser473 phosphorylation, indicating that Rps6 activation amplifies mTORC2/Akt signaling. Disruption of the Rps6/mTORC2 pathway by knockdown of Rps6 or rictor abrogated insulin-induced cytoprotection against oxidative stress. Although rapamycin blocks Rps6-dependent mTORC2 activation, mTORC2 is still activated by an alternative signaling pathway, demonstrating the redundancy in cardioprotective signaling.Activation of mTORC2 plays a pivotal role in cardioprotection, and Rps6 is a convergence point of cardioprotective signaling, providing positive feedback regulation of mTORC2/Akt signaling.
Project description:Hyperactivation of the mTOR pathway impairs hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) functions and promotes leukemogenesis. mTORC1 and mTORC2 differentially control normal and leukemic stem cell functions. mTORC1 regulates p70 ribosomal protein S6 kinase 1 (S6K1) and eukaryotic initiation factor 4E-binding (eIF4E-binding) protein 1 (4E-BP1), and mTORC2 modulates AKT activation. Given the extensive crosstalk that occurs between mTORC1 and mTORC2 signaling pathways, we assessed the role of the mTORC1 substrate S6K1 in the regulation of both normal HSC functions and in leukemogenesis driven by the mixed lineage leukemia (MLL) fusion oncogene MLL-AF9. We demonstrated that S6K1 deficiency impairs self-renewal of murine HSCs by reducing p21 expression. Loss of S6K1 also improved survival in mice transplanted with MLL-AF9-positive leukemic stem cells by modulating AKT and 4E-BP1 phosphorylation. Taken together, these results suggest that S6K1 acts through multiple targets of the mTOR pathway to promote self-renewal and leukemia progression. Given the recent interest in S6K1 as a potential therapeutic target in cancer, our results further support targeting this molecule as a potential strategy for treatment of myeloid malignancies.
Project description:Mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) is an emerging regulator of blood-tissue barriers that utilizes ribosomal protein S6 (rpS6) as the downstream signaling molecule. To explore the role of rpS6 in blood-testis barrier (BTB) function, a constitutively active quadruple rpS6 phosphomimetic mutant was constructed in mammalian expression vector and overexpressed in Sertoli cells cultured in vitro that mimicked the BTB in vivo. Using this quadruple phosphomimetic mutant, phosphorylated (p)-rpS6 was shown to disrupt IGF-1/insulin signaling, thereby abolishing Akt phosphorylation, which led to an induction of MMP-9. This increase in MMP-9 secretion perturbed the Sertoli cell tight junction permeability barrier by proteolysis-mediated downregulation of tight junction proteins at the BTB. These findings were confirmed by the use of a specific MMP-9 inhibitor that blocked the disruption of the tight junction permeability barrier by the rpS6 mutant. Additionally, RNA interference (RNAi)-mediated Akt silencing was able to mimic the results of rpS6 mutant overexpression in Sertoli cells, further confirming this p-rpS6-Akt-MMP-9 signaling pathway. In conclusion, these data support a new concept of mTORC1-mediated BTB regulation, that is possibly also applicable to other blood-tissue barriers.