Response to mTOR inhibition: activity of eIF4E predicts sensitivity in cell lines and acquired changes in eIF4E regulation in breast cancer.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Inhibitors of the kinase mTOR, such as rapamycin and everolimus, have been used as cancer therapeutics with limited success since some tumours are resistant. Efforts to establish predictive markers to allow selection of patients with tumours likely to respond have centred on determining phosphorylation states of mTOR or its targets 4E-BP1 and S6K in cancer cells. In an alternative approach we estimated eIF4E activity, a key effector of mTOR function, and tested the hypothesis that eIF4E activity predicts sensitivity to mTOR inhibition in cell lines and in breast tumours. RESULTS: We found a greater than three fold difference in sensitivity of representative colon, lung and breast cell lines to rapamycin. Using an assay to quantify influences of eIF4E on the translational efficiency specified by structured 5'UTRs, we showed that this estimate of eIF4E activity was a significant predictor of rapamycin sensitivity, with higher eIF4E activities indicative of enhanced sensitivity. Surprisingly, non-transformed cell lines were not less sensitive to rapamycin and did not have lower eIF4E activities than cancer lines, suggesting the mTOR/4E-BP1/eIF4E axis is deregulated in these non-transformed cells. In the context of clinical breast cancers, we estimated eIF4E activity by analysing expression of eIF4E and its functional regulators within tumour cells and combining these scores to reflect inhibitory and activating influences on eIF4E. Estimates of eIF4E activity in cancer biopsies taken at diagnosis did not predict sensitivity to 11-14 days of pre-operative everolimus treatment, as assessed by change in tumour cell proliferation from diagnosis to surgical excision. However, higher pre-treatment eIF4E activity was significantly associated with dramatic post-treatment changes in expression of eIF4E and 4E-binding proteins, suggesting that eIF4E is further deregulated in these tumours in response to mTOR inhibition. CONCLUSIONS: Estimates of eIF4E activity predict sensitivity to mTOR inhibition in cell lines but breast tumours with high estimated eIF4E activity gain changes in eIF4E regulation in order to enhance resistance.
Project description:Rapamycin has been used as a clinical immunosuppressant for many years; however, the molecular basis for its selective effects on lymphocytes remains unclear. We investigated the role of two canonical effectors of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR): ribosomal S6 kinases (S6Ks) and eukaryotic initiation factor 4E (eIF4E)-binding proteins (4E-BPs). S6Ks are thought to regulate cell growth (increase in cell size), and 4E-BPs are thought to control proliferation (increase in cell number), with mTORC1 signaling serving to integrate these processes. However, we found that the 4E-BP-eIF4E signaling axis controlled both the growth and proliferation of lymphocytes, processes for which the S6Ks were dispensable. Furthermore, rapamycin disrupted eIF4E function selectively in lymphocytes, which was due to the increased abundance of 4E-BP2 relative to that of 4E-BP1 in these cells and the greater sensitivity of 4E-BP2 to rapamycin. Together, our findings suggest that the 4E-BP-eIF4E axis is uniquely rapamycin-sensitive in lymphocytes and that this axis promotes clonal expansion of these cells by coordinating growth and proliferation.
Project description:Male breast cancer is rare and treatment is based on data from females. High expression/activity of eukaryotic initiation factor 4E (eIF4E) denotes a poor prognosis in female breast cancer, and the eIF4E pathway has been targeted therapeutically. Eukaryotic initiation factor 4E activity in female breast cancer is deregulated by eIF4E overexpression and by phosphorylation of its binding protein, 4E-BP1, which relieves inhibitory association between eIF4E and 4E-BP1. The relevance of the eIF4E pathway in male breast cancer is unknown.We have assessed expression levels of eIF4E, 4E-BP1, 4E-BP2 and phosphorylated 4E-BP1 (p4E-BP1) using immunohistochemistry in a large cohort of male breast cancers (n=337) and have examined correlations with prognostic factors and survival.Neither eIF4E expression nor estimated eIF4E activity were associated with prognosis. However, a highly significant correlation was found between p4E-BP1 expression and disease-free survival (DFS), linking any detectable p4E-BP1 with poor survival (univariate log rank P=0.001; multivariate HR 8.8, P=0.0001).Our data provide no support for direct therapeutic targeting of eIF4E in male breast cancer, unlike in females. However, as p4E-BP1 gives powerful prognostic insights that are unrelated to eIF4E function, p4E-BP1 may identify male breast cancers potentially suitable for therapies directed at the upstream kinase, mTOR.
Project description:Increased eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E (eIF4E) expression occurs in many cancers, and makes fundamental contributions to carcinogenesis by stimulating the expression of cancer-related genes at post-transcriptional levels. This key role is highlighted by the facts that eIF4E levels can predict prognosis, and that eIF4E is an established therapeutic target. However, eIF4E activity is a complex function of expression levels and phosphorylation statuses of eIF4E and eIF4E-binding proteins (4E-BPs). Our hypothesis was that the combined analyses of these pathway components would allow insights into eIF4E activity and its influence on cancer. We have determined expression levels of eIF4E, 4E-BP1, 4E-BP2 and phosphorylated 4E-BP1 within 424 breast tumours, and have carried out analyses to combine these and relate the product to patient survival, in order to estimate eIF4E activity. We show that this analysis gives greater prognostic insights than that of eIF4E alone. We show that eIF4E and 4E-BP expression are positively associated, and that 4E-BP2 has a stronger influence on cancer behaviour than 4E-BP1. Finally, we examine eIF4E, estimated eIF4E activity, and phosphorylated 4E-BP1 as potential predictive biomarkers for eIF4E-targeted therapies, and show that each determines selection of different patient groups. We conclude that eIF4E's influence on cancer survival is modulated substantially by 4E-BPs, and that combined pathway analyses can estimate functional eIF4E.
Project description:Herpes Simplex Virus 1 (HSV1) is amongst the most clinically advanced oncolytic virus platforms. However, efficient and sustained viral replication within tumours is limiting. Rapamycin can stimulate HSV1 replication in cancer cells, but active-site dual mTORC1 and mTORC2 (mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 and 2) inhibitors (asTORi) were shown to suppress the virus in normal cells. Surprisingly, using the infected cell protein 0 (ICP0)-deleted HSV1 (HSV1-dICP0), we found that asTORi markedly augment infection in cancer cells and a mouse mammary cancer xenograft. Mechanistically, asTORi repressed mRNA translation in normal cells, resulting in defective antiviral response but also inhibition of HSV1-dICP0 replication. asTORi also reduced antiviral response in cancer cells, however in contrast to normal cells, transformed cells and cells transduced to elevate the expression of eukaryotic initiation factor 4E (eIF4E) or to silence the repressors eIF4E binding proteins (4E-BPs), selectively maintained HSV1-dICP0 protein synthesis during asTORi treatment, ultimately supporting increased viral replication. Our data show that altered eIF4E/4E-BPs expression can act to promote HSV1-dICP0 infection under prolonged mTOR inhibition. Thus, pharmacoviral combination of asTORi and HSV1 can target cancer cells displaying dysregulated eIF4E/4E-BPs axis.
Project description:Hyperconnectivity of neuronal circuits due to increased synaptic protein synthesis is thought to cause autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is strongly implicated in ASDs by means of upstream signalling; however, downstream regulatory mechanisms are ill-defined. Here we show that knockout of the eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E-binding protein 2 (4E-BP2)-an eIF4E repressor downstream of mTOR-or eIF4E overexpression leads to increased translation of neuroligins, which are postsynaptic proteins that are causally linked to ASDs. Mice that have the gene encoding 4E-BP2 (Eif4ebp2) knocked out exhibit an increased ratio of excitatory to inhibitory synaptic inputs and autistic-like behaviours (that is, social interaction deficits, altered communication and repetitive/stereotyped behaviours). Pharmacological inhibition of eIF4E activity or normalization of neuroligin 1, but not neuroligin 2, protein levels restores the normal excitation/inhibition ratio and rectifies the social behaviour deficits. Thus, translational control by eIF4E regulates the synthesis of neuroligins, maintaining the excitation-to-inhibition balance, and its dysregulation engenders ASD-like phenotypes.
Project description:In eukaryotes, mRNA translation is dependent on the cap-binding protein eIF4E. Through its simultaneous interaction with the mRNA cap structure and with the ribosome-associated eIF4G adaptor protein, eIF4E physically posits the ribosome at the 5' extremity of capped mRNA. eIF4E activity is regulated by phosphorylation on a unique site by the eIF4G-associated kinase MNK. eIF4E assembly with the eIF4G-MNK sub-complex can be however antagonized by the hypophosphorylated forms of eIF4E-binding protein (4E-BP). We show here that eIF4E phosphorylation is dramatically affected by disruption of eIF4E-eIF4G interaction, independently of changes in MNK expression. eIF4E phosphorylation is actually strongly downregulated upon eIF4G shutdown or upon sequestration by hypophosphorylated 4E-BP, consequent to mTOR inhibition. Downregulation of 4E-BP renders eIF4E phosphorylation insensitive to mTOR inhibition. These data highlight the important role of 4E-BP in regulating eIF4E phosphorylation independently of changes in MNK expression.
Project description:Ischaemia was obtained in vitro by subjecting nerve-growth-factor-differentiated PC12 cells to glucose deprivation plus anoxia. During ischaemia the rate of protein synthesis was significantly inhibited, and eIF4E-binding protein (4E-BP1) and eukaryotic initiation factor 4E (eIF4E) were significantly dephosphorylated in parallel. In addition, ischaemia induced an enhancement of the association of 4E-BP1 to eIF4E, which in turn decreased eIF4F formation, whereas no degradation of initiation factor 4G was observed. The treatment of PC12 cells with the specific p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase inhibitor SB203580 induced eIF4E dephosphorylation but did not cause any effect on protein synthesis rate. Rapamycin, the inhibitor of mammalian target of rapamycin ('mTOR'), but not PD98059, the inhibitor of extracellular signal-regulated protein kinases ('ERK1/2'), induced similar effects on 4E-BP1 phosphorylation to ischaemia; nevertheless, 4E-BP1-eIF4E complex levels were higher in ischaemia than in rapamycin-treated cells. In addition, both protein synthesis rate and eIF4F formation were lower in ischaemic cells than in rapamycin-treated cells.
Project description:Mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling is a central regulator of protein translation, cell growth, and metabolism. Alterations of the mTOR signaling pathway are common in cancer, making mTOR a promising therapeutic target. In clinical trials, rapamycin analogs have shown modest response rates for most cancer types, including breast cancer. Therefore, there is an urgent need to better understand the mechanism of action of rapamycin to improve patient selection and to monitor pathway inhibition. To identify novel pharmacodynamic markers of rapamycin activity, we carried out transcriptional profiling of total and polysome-associated RNA in three breast cancer cell lines representing different subtypes. In all three cell lines, we found that rapamycin significantly decreased polysome-associated mRNA for stearoyl-CoA desaturase 1 (SCD1), the rate-limiting enzyme in monounsaturated fatty acid synthesis. Activators of mTOR increased SCD1 protein expression, whereas rapamycin, LY294002, and BEZ235 decreased SCD1 protein expression. Rapamycin decreased total SCD1 RNA expression without inducing a significant decline in its relative polysomal recruitment (polysome/total ratio). Rapamycin did not alter SCD1 mRNA stability. Instead, rapamycin inhibited SCD1 promoter activity and decreased expression of mature transcription factor sterol regulatory element binding protein 1 (SREBP1). Eukaryotic initiation factor 4E (eIF4E) small interfering RNA (siRNA) decreased both SCD1 and SREBP1 expression, suggesting that SCD1 may be regulated through the mTOR/eIF4E-binding protein 1 axis. Furthermore, SCD1 siRNA knockdown inhibited breast cancer cell growth, whereas overexpression increased growth. Taken together these findings show that rapamycin decreases SCD1 expression, establishing an important link between cell signaling and cancer cell fatty acid synthesis and growth.
Project description:eIF4E is over-expressed in many tumours, including a high proportion of breast cancers. eIF4E is an oncogene, and signalling pathways which promote eIF4E activity represent potential targets for therapeutic intervention in cancer. MNKs phosphorylate eIF4E on serine 209, a modification that can be required for eIF4E-dependent cell transformation. There is therefore a clear requirement to determine the role of MNKs in the proliferation and survival of cells from the major human tumours, such as breast cancer. Phosphorylated eIF4E protein was readily detectable in some breast tumour samples, but was below the limits of detection in others. Of 6 breast cancer cell lines representing the major sub-types of breast cancer, phosphorylated eIF4E was readily detectable in 5 of them, with MCF-7 cells displaying markedly lower levels. Long term colony forming assays demonstrated that all the five lines with high levels of phosphorylated eIF4E were highly sensitive to a MNK inhibitor. In short term assays, a range of responses was revealed. MCF-7 cells were insensitive in both assays. The anti-proliferative effects of the MNK inhibitor in breast cancer cells are primarily cytostatic, rather than cytotoxic, and are potentially due to the inhibition of cyclin D1 synthesis. Our data provide evidence that the sensitivity of breast cancer cells to MNK inhibition may correlate with baseline levels of eIF4E phosphorylation, and suggest that a proportion of breast cancers could be sensitive to inhibiting MNK kinase activity, and that the presence of phosphorylated eIF4E could provide a biomarker for the identification of responsive tumours.
Project description:Cerebellar development entails rapid peri-natal proliferation of cerebellar granule neuron precursors (CGNPs), proposed cells-of-origin for certain medulloblastomas. CGNPs require insulin-like growth factor (IGF) for survival and sonic hedgehog (Shh)-implicated in medulloblastoma-for proliferation. The IGF-responsive kinase mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) drives proliferation-associated protein synthesis. We asked whether Shh signaling regulates mTOR targets to promote CGNP proliferation despite constitutive IGF signaling under proliferative and differentiation-promoting conditions. Surprisingly, Shh promoted eukaryotic initiation factor 4E (eIF4E) expression, but inhibited S6 kinase (S6K). In vivo, S6K activity specifically marked the CGNP population transitioning from proliferation-competent to post-mitotic. Indeed, eIF4E was required for CGNP proliferation, while S6K activation drove cell cycle exit. Protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) inhibition rescued S6K activity. Moreover, Shh upregulated the PP2A B56? subunit, which targets S6K for inactivation and was required for CGNP proliferation. These findings reveal unique developmental functions for eIF4E and S6 kinase wherein their activity is specifically uncoupled by mitogenic Shh signaling.