Estrogen and progesterone regulate p27kip1 levels via the ubiquitin-proteasome system: pathogenic and therapeutic implications for endometrial cancer.
ABSTRACT: The levels of proteins that control the cell cycle are regulated by ubiquitin-mediated degradation via the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) by substrate-specific E3 ubiquitin ligases. The cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor, p27kip1 (p27), that blocks the cell cycle in G1, is ubiquitylated by the E3 ligase SCF-Skp2/Cks1 for degradation by the UPS. In turn, Skp2 and Cks1 are ubiquitylated by the E3 ligase complex APC/Cdh1 for destruction thereby maintaining abundant levels of nuclear p27. We previously showed that perpetual proteasomal degradation of p27 is an early event in Type I endometrial carcinogenesis (ECA), an estrogen (E2)-induced cancer. The present studies demonstrate that E2 stimulates growth of ECA cell lines and normal primary endometrial epithelial cells (EECs) and induces MAPK-ERK1/2-dependent phosphorylation of p27 on Thr187, a prerequisite for p27 ubiquitylation by nuclear SCF-Skp2/Cks1 and subsequent degradation. In addition, E2 decreases the E3 ligase [APC]Cdh1 leaving Skp2 and Cks1 intact to cause p27 degradation. Furthermore, knocking-down Skp2 prevents E2-induced p27 degradation and growth stimulation suggesting that the pathogenesis of E2-induced ECA is dependent on Skp2-mediated degradation of p27. Conversely, progesterone (Pg) as an inhibitor of endometrial proliferation increases nuclear p27 and Cdh1 in primary EECs and ECA cells. Pg, also increases Cdh1 binding to APC to form the active E3ligase. Knocking-down Cdh1 obviates Pg-induced stabilization of p27 and growth inhibition. Notably, neither E2 nor Pg affected transcription of Cdh1, Skp2, Cks1 nor p27. These studies provide new insights into hormone regulation of cell proliferation through the UPS. The data implicates that preventing nuclear p27 degradation by blocking Skp2/Cks1-mediated degradation of p27 or increasing Cdh1 to mediate degradation of Skp2-Cks1 are potential strategies for the prevention and treatment of ECA.
Project description:We previously reported that aberrant TGF-?/Smad2/3 signaling in endometrial cancer (ECA) leads to continuous ubiquitylation of p27(kip1)(p27) by the E3 ligase SCF-Skp2/Cks1 causing its degradation, as a putative mechanism involved in the pathogenesis of this cancer. In contrast, normal intact TGF-? signaling prevents degradation of nuclear p27 by SCF-Skp2/Cks1 thereby accumulating p27 to block Cdk2 for growth arrest. Here we show that in ECA cell lines and normal primary endometrial epithelial cells, TGF-? increases Cdh1 and its binding to APC/C to form the E3 ligase complex that ubiquitylates Cks1 and Skp2 prompting their proteasomal degradation and thus, leaving p27 intact. Knocking-down Cdh1 in ECA cell lines increased Skp2/Cks1 E3 ligase activity, completely diminished nuclear and cytoplasmic p27, and obviated TGF-?-mediated inhibition of proliferation. Protein synthesis was not required for TGF-?-induced increase in nuclear p27 and decrease in Cks1 and Skp2. Moreover, half-lives of Cks1 and Skp2 were extended in the Cdh1-depleted cells. These results suggest that the levels of p27, Skp2 and Cks1 are strongly or solely regulated by proteasomal degradation. Finally, an inverse relationship of low p27 and high Cks1 in the nucleus was shown in patients in normal proliferative endometrium and grade I-III ECAs whereas differentiated secretory endometrium showed the reverse. These studies implicate Cdh1 as the master regulator of TGF-?-induced preservation of p27 tumor suppressor activity. Thus, Cdh1 is a potential therapeutic target for ECA and other human cancers showing an inverse relationship between Cks1/Skp2 and p27 and/or dysregulated TGF-? signaling.
Project description:In many human cancers, the tumor suppressor, p27(kip1) (p27), a cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor critical to cell cycle arrest, undergoes perpetual ubiquitin-mediated proteasomal degradation by the E3 ligase complex SCF-Skp2/Cks1 and/or cytoplasmic mislocalization. Lack of nuclear p27 causes aberrant cell cycle progression, and cytoplasmic p27 mediates cell migration/metastasis. We previously showed that mitogenic 17-?-estradiol (E2) induces degradation of p27 by the E3 ligase Skp1-Cullin1-F-Box- S phase kinase-associated protein2/cyclin dependent kinase regulatory subunit 1 in primary endometrial epithelial cells and endometrial carcinoma (ECA) cell lines, suggesting a pathogenic mechanism for type I ECA, an E2-induced cancer. The current studies show that treatment of endometrial carcinoma cells-1 (ECC-1) with small molecule inhibitors of Skp2/Cks1 E3 ligase activity (Skp2E3LIs) stabilizes p27 in the nucleus, decreases p27 in the cytoplasm, and prevents E2-induced proliferation and degradation of p27 in endometrial carcinoma cells-1 and primary ECA cells. Furthermore, Skp2E3LIs increase p27 half-life by 6 hours, inhibit cell proliferation (IC50, 14.3?M), block retinoblastoma protein (pRB) phosphorylation, induce G1 phase block, and are not cytotoxic. Similarly, using super resolution fluorescence localization microscopy and quantification, Skp2E3LIs increase p27 protein in the nucleus by 1.8-fold. In vivo, injection of Skp2E3LIs significantly increases nuclear p27 and reduces proliferation of endometrial epithelial cells by 42%-62% in ovariectomized E2-primed mice. Skp2E3LIs are specific inhibitors of proteolytic degradation that pharmacologically target the binding interaction between the E3 ligase, SCF-Skp2/Cks1, and p27 to stabilize nuclear p27 and prevent cell cycle progression. These targeted inhibitors have the potential to be an important therapeutic advance over general proteasome inhibitors for cancers characterized by SCF-Skp2/Cks1-mediated destruction of nuclear p27.
Project description:Decreased levels of cell cycle inhibitor p27(Kip1) due to excessive degradation occur in a variety of aggressive human tumors. Since reduced p27(Kip1) expression has been associated with a poor prognosis in many human cancers and resistance to certain antitumor therapies, elevation of p27(Kip1) expression could improve prognosis and prevent excessive cell proliferation. SCF(Skp2) is one of the major ubiquitin E3 ligases responsible for degradation of p27(Kip1). Ubiquitination of p27(Kip1) also requires a small adaptor protein, Cks1, which facilitates substrate recruitment by bridging the interaction between Skp2 and p27(Kip1). It has been shown previously that a direct interaction between Cks1 and Skp2 is required for p27(Kip1) degradation. Accordingly, perturbation of the Skp2-Cks1 interaction may represent an attractive target for pharmacological intervention. Here we describe a high-throughput AlphaScreen assay for discovering small-molecule inhibitors of the Skp2-Cks1 protein-protein interaction in vitro. Two compounds (NSC689857 and NSC681152) were identified and validated through a structure-activity relationship analysis. Both compounds were also shown to inhibit p27(Kip1) ubiquitination in vitro. These studies demonstrate that disruption of the Skp2-Cks1 interaction provides a viable strategy to prevent p27(Kip1) ubiquitination and may potentially be useful for the control of excessive degradation of this cell cycle inhibitor in tumor cells.
Project description:In the ubiquitin proteasome system, the E3 ligase SCF-Skp2 and its accessory protein, Cks1, promote proliferation largely by inducing the degradation of the CDK inhibitor p27. Overexpression of Skp2 in human cancers correlates with poor prognosis, and deregulation of SCF-Skp2-Cks1 promotes tumorigenesis in animal models. We identified small molecule inhibitors specific to SCF-Skp2 activity using in silico screens targeted to the binding interface for p27. These compounds selectively inhibited Skp2-mediated p27 degradation by reducing p27 binding through key compound-receptor contacts. In cancer cells, the compounds induced p27 accumulation in a Skp2-dependent manner and promoted cell-type-specific blocks in the G1 or G2/M phases. Designing SCF-Skp2-specific inhibitors may be a novel strategy to treat cancers dependent on the Skp2-p27 axis.
Project description:Dysregulation of the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) has been implicated in several types of tumorigenesis. Our previous studies have shown the potential role of Cdh1/APC in regulating tumor formation via governing the Skp2-p27-cyclinE/CDK2 axis. In this work, we used a xenograft mouse breast cancer model to identify the mechanism by which Cdh1/APC potentially suppresses tumor growth in vivo. Here, we report that depletion of Cdh1 results in a significant enhancement of the breast tumor proliferation, while elevated Cdh1 leads to suppression of breast tumor growth. Analysis of breast tissue arrays has indicated that higher levels of Cdh1 are associated with normal breast epithelial tissues whereas lower Skp2 expression and elevated p27 levels are detected. Conversely, the percentage of breast cancer tissues stained positive for Cdh1 and p27 are significantly lower with higher Skp2 levels. Thus, the E3 ligase, Cdh1/APC, may inhibit breast tumor growth via regulating Skp2-p27 mediated cell cycle progression.
Project description:The universal cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p27(Kip1) functions as a tumor suppressor, and reduced levels of p27(Kip1) connote poor prognosis in several human malignancies. p27(Kip1) levels are predominately regulated by ubiquitin-mediated turnover of the protein, which is marked for destruction by the E3 ubiquitin ligase SCF(Skp2) complex following its phosphorylation by the cyclin E-cyclin-dependent kinase 2 complex. Binding of phospho-p27(Kip1) is directed by the Skp2 F-box protein, and this is greatly augmented by its allosteric regulator Cks1. We have established that programmed expression of c-Myc in the B cells of Emu-Myc transgenic mice triggers p27(Kip1) destruction by inducing Cks1, that this response controls Myc-driven proliferation, and that loss of Cks1 markedly delays Myc-induced lymphomagenesis and cancels the dissemination of these tumors. Here, we report that elevated levels of Skp2 are a characteristic of Emu-Myc lymphomas and of human Burkitt lymphoma that bear MYC/Immunoglobulin chromosomal translocations. As expected, Myc-mediated suppression of p27(Kip1) was abolished in Skp2-null Emu-Myc B cells. However, the effect of Skp2 loss on Myc-driven proliferation and lymphomagenesis was surprisingly modest compared with the effects of Cks1 loss. Collectively, these findings suggest that Cks1 targets, in addition to p27(Kip1), are critical for Myc-driven proliferation and tumorigenesis.
Project description:The p27(Kip1) protein is a potent cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor, the level of which is decreased in many common human cancers as a result of enhanced ubiquitin-dependent degradation. The multiprotein complex SCF(Skp2) has been identified as the ubiquitin ligase that targets p27, but the functional interactions within this complex are not well understood. One component, the F-box protein Skp2, binds p27 when the latter is phosphorylated on Thr(187), thus providing substrate specificity for the ligase. Recently, we and others have shown that the small cell cycle regulatory protein Cks1 plays a critical role in p27 ubiquitination by increasing the binding affinity of Skp2 for p27. Here we report the development of a homogeneous time-resolved fluorescence assay that allows the quantification of the molecular interactions between human recombinant Skp2, Cks1 and a p27-derived peptide phosphorylated on Thr(187). Using this assay, we have determined the dissociation constant of the Skp2-Cks1 complex (K(d) 140 +/- 14 nM) and have shown that Skp2 binds phosphorylated p27 peptide with high affinity only in the presence of Cks1 (K(d) 37 +/- 2 nM). Cks1 does not bind directly to the p27 phosphopeptide or to Skp1, which confirms its suggested role as an allosteric effector of Skp2.
Project description:Dysregulation of p27(Kip1) due to proteolysis that involves the ubiquitin ligase (SCF) complex with S-phase kinase-associated protein 2 (Skp2) as the substrate-recognition component (SCF(Skp2)) frequently results in tumorigenesis. In this report, we developed a high-throughput screening system to identify small-molecule inhibitors of p27(Kip1) degradation. This system was established by tagging Skp2 with fluorescent monomeric Azami Green (mAG) and CDK subunit 1 (Cks1) (mAGSkp2-Cks1) to bind to p27(Kip1) phosphopeptides. We identified two compounds that inhibited the interaction between mAGSkp2-Cks1 and p27(Kip1): linichlorin A and gentian violet. Further studies have shown that the compounds inhibit the ubiquitination of p27(Kip1) in vitro as well as p27(Kip1) degradation in HeLa cells. Notably, both compounds exhibited preferential antiproliferative activity against HeLa and tsFT210 cells compared with NIH3T3 cells and delayed the G1 phase progression in tsFT210 cells. Our approach indicates a potential strategy for restoring p27(Kip1) levels in human cancers.
Project description:SCFSkp2/Cks1 ubiquitinates Thr187-phosphorylated p27 for degradation. Overexpression of Skp2 coupled with underexpression of p27 are frequent characteristics of cancer cells. When the role of SCFSkp2/Cks1-mediated p27 ubiquitination in cancer was specifically tested by p27 Thr187-to-Ala knockin (p27T187A KI), it was found dispensable for KrasG12D-induced lung tumorigenesis but essential for Rb1-deficient pituitary tumorigenesis. Here we identify pRb and p53 doubly deficient (DKO) prostate tumorigenesis as a context in which p27 ubiquitination by SCFSkp2/Cks1 is required for p27 downregulation. p27 protein accumulated in prostate when p27T187A KI mice underwent DKO prostate tumorigenesis. p27T187A KI or Skp2 knockdown (KD) induced similar degrees of p27 protein accumulation in DKO prostate cells, and Skp2 KD did not further increase p27 protein in DKO prostate cells that contained p27T187A KI (AADKO prostate cells). p27T187A KI activated an E2F1-p73-apoptosis axis in DKO prostate tumorigenesis, slowed disease progression and significantly extended survival. Querying co-occurrence relationships among RB1, TP53, PTEN, NKX3-1 and MYC in TCGA of prostate cancer identified co-inactivation of RB1 and TP53 as the only statistically significant co-occurrences in metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC). Together, our study identifies Skp2/Cks1 pocket inhibitors as potential therapeutics for mCRPC. Procedures for establishing mCRPC organoid cultures from contemporary patients were recently established. An Skp2/Cks1 pocket inhibitor preferentially collapsed DKO prostate tumor organoids over AADKO organoids, which spontaneously disintegrated over time when DKO prostate tumor organoids grew larger, setting the stage to translate mouse model findings to precision medicine in the clinic on the organoid platform.
Project description:The Cks1 component of the SCF(Skp2) complex is necessary for p27(Kip1) ubiquitylation and degradation. Cks1 expression is elevated in various B cell malignancies including Burkitt lymphoma and multiple myeloma. We have previously shown that loss of Cks1 results in elevated p27(Kip1) levels and delayed tumor development in a mouse model of Myc-induced B cell lymphoma. Surprisingly, loss of Skp2 in the same mouse model also resulted in elevated p27(Kip1) levels but exhibited no impact on tumor onset. This raises the possibility that Cks1 could have other oncogenic activities than suppressing p27(Kip1). To challenge this notion we have targeted overexpression of Cks1 to B cells using a conditional retroviral bone marrow transduction-transplantation system. Despite potent ectopic overexpression, Cks1 was unable to promote B cell hyperproliferation or B cell malignancies, indicating that Cks1 is not oncogenic when overexpressed in B cells. Since Skp2 overexpression can drive T-cell tumorigenesis or other cancers we also widened the quest for oncogenic activity of Cks1 by ubiquitously expressing Cks1 in hematopoetic progenitors. At variance with c-Myc overexpression, which caused acute myeloid leukemia, Cks1 overexpression did not induce myeloproliferation or leukemia. Therefore, despite being associated with a poor prognosis in various malignancies, sole Cks1 expression is insufficient to induce lymphoma or a myeloproliferative disease in vivo.