Inhibition of RAC1 GTPase sensitizes pancreatic cancer cells to ?-irradiation.
ABSTRACT: Radiation therapy is a staple treatment for pancreatic cancer. However, owing to the intrinsic radioresistance of pancreatic cancer cells, radiation therapy often fails to increase survival of pancreatic cancer patients. Radiation impedes cancer cells by inducing DNA damage, which can activate cell cycle checkpoints. Normal cells possess both a G1 and G2 checkpoint. However, cancer cells are often defective in G1 checkpoint due to mutations/alterations in key regulators of this checkpoint. Accordingly, our results show that normal pancreatic ductal cells respond to ionizing radiation (IR) with activation of both checkpoints whereas pancreatic cancer cells respond to IR with G2/M arrest only. Overexpression/hyperactivation of Rac1 GTPase is detected in the majority of pancreatic cancers. Rac1 plays important roles in survival and Ras-mediated transformation. Here, we show that Rac1 also plays a critical role in the response of pancreatic cancer cells to IR. Inhibition of Rac1 using specific inhibitor and dominant negative Rac1 mutant not only abrogates IR-induced G2 checkpoint activation, but also increases radiosensitivity of pancreatic cancer cells through induction of apoptosis. These results implicate Rac1 signaling in the survival of pancreatic cancer cells following IR, raising the possibility that this pathway contributes to the intrinsic radioresistance of pancreatic cancer.
Project description:Radiation therapy is a staple approach for cancer treatment, whereas radioresistance of cancer cells remains a substantial clinical problem. In response to ionizing radiation (IR) induced DNA damage, cancer cells can sustain/activate pro-survival signaling pathways, leading to apoptotic resistance and induction of cell cycle checkpoint/DNA repair. Previous studies show that Rac1 GTPase is overexpressed/hyperactivated in breast cancer cells and is associated with poor prognosis. Studies from our laboratory reveal that Rac1 activity is necessary for G2/M checkpoint activation and cell survival in response to IR exposure of breast and pancreatic cancer cells. In this study, we investigated the effect of Rac1 on the survival of breast cancer cells treated with hyper-fractionated radiation (HFR), which is used clinically for cancer treatment. Results in this report indicate that Rac1 protein expression is increased in the breast cancer cells that survived HFR compared with parental cells. Furthermore, this increase of Rac1 is associated with enhanced activities of extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1 and 2 (ERK1/2) and nuclear factor-?B (NF-?B) signaling pathways and increased levels of anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-xL and Mcl-1, which are downstream targets of ERK1/2 and NF-?B signaling pathways. Using Rac1-specific inhibitor and dominant-negative mutant N17Rac1, here we demonstrate that Rac1 inhibition decreases the phosphorylation of ERK1/2 and inhibitory ?B? (I?B?), as well as the levels of Bcl-xL and Mcl-1 protein in the HFR-selected breast cancer cells. Moreover, inhibition of Rac1 using either small molecule inhibitor or dominant-negative N17Rac1 abrogates clonogenic survival of HFR-selected breast cancer cells and decreases the level of intact poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase, which is indicative of apoptosis induction. Collectively, results in this report suggest that Rac1 signaling is essential for the survival of breast cancer cells subjected to HFR and implicate Rac1 in radioresistance of breast cancer cells. These studies also provide the basis to explore Rac1 as a therapeutic target for radioresistant breast cancer cells.
Project description:In response to gamma-irradiation (IR)-induced double-strand DNA breaks, cells undergo cell-cycle arrest, allowing time for DNA repair before reentering the cell cycle. G2/M checkpoint activation involves activation of ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM)/ATM- and rad3-related (ATR) kinases and inhibition of Cdc25 phosphatases, resulting in inhibition of Cdc2 kinase and subsequent G2/M cell-cycle arrest. Previous studies from our laboratory showed that the G2/M checkpoint activation after IR exposure of MCF-7 breast cancer cells is dependent on the activation of extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase 1 and 2 (ERK1/2) signaling. In the present studies, we investigated the role of Ras-related C3 botulinum toxin substrate 1 (Rac1) guanosine triphosphatase (GTPase) in IR-induced G2/M checkpoint response and ERK1/2 activation, as well as in cell survival after IR.With Rac1-specific inhibitor, dominant negative mutant Rac1 (N17Rac1) and specific small interfering RNA, the effect of Rac1 on IR-induced G2/M checkpoint response and ERK1/2 activation was examined in human breast cancer cells. In addition, the effect of Rac1 on cell survival after irradiation was assessed by using Rac1-specific inhibitor.IR exposure of MCF-7 breast cancer cells was associated with a marked activation of Rac1 GTPase. Furthermore, inhibition of Rac1 by using specific inhibitor, dominant-negative Rac1 mutant, or specific siRNA resulted in attenuation of IR-induced G2/M arrest and concomitant diminution of IR-induced activation of ATM, ATR, Chk1, and Chk2 kinases, as well as phosphorylation of Cdc2-Tyr15. Moreover, Rac1 inhibition or decreased Rac1 expression also abrogated IR-induced phosphorylation of mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase 1 and 2 (MEK1/2) and ERK1/2. Ultimately, inhibition of Rac1 markedly increased cellular sensitivity to IR exposure, which involves induction of apoptosis.Studies in this report suggest that Rac1 GTPase plays an essential role in the activation of IR-induced ERK1/2 signaling and subsequent G2/M checkpoint response. Furthermore, results also support a role for Rac1 in promoting cell survival after irradiation treatment.
Project description:In response to ?-irradiation (IR)-induced DNA damage, activation of cell cycle checkpoints results in cell cycle arrest, allowing time for DNA repair before cell cycle re-entry. Human cells contain G1 and G2 cell cycle checkpoints. While G1 checkpoint is defective in most cancer cells, commonly due to mutations and/or alterations in the key regulators of G1 checkpoint (for example, p53, cyclin D), G2 checkpoint is rarely impaired in cancer cells, which is important for cancer cell survival. G2 checkpoint activation involves activation of ataxia telangiectasia-mutated (ATM)/ATM- and rad3-related (ATR) signalings, which leads to the inhibition of Cdc2 kinase and subsequent G2/M cell cycle arrest. Previous studies from our laboratory show that G2 checkpoint activation following IR exposure of MCF-7 breast cancer cells is dependent on the activation of extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase 1 and 2 (ERK1/2) signaling. As HER receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs), which have important roles in cell proliferation and survival, have been shown to activate ERK1/2 signaling in response to various stimuli, we investigated the role of HER RTKs in IR-induced G2/M checkpoint response in breast cancer cells. Results of the present studies indicate that IR exposure resulted in a striking increase in the phosphorylation of HER1, HER2, HER3 and HER4 in MCF-7 cells, indicative of activation of these proteins. Furthermore, specific inhibition of HER2 using an inhibitor, short hairpin RNA and dominant-negative mutant HER2 abolished IR-induced activation of ATM/ATR signaling, phosphorylation of Cdc2-Y15 and subsequent induction of G2/M arrest. Moreover, the inhibition of HER2 also abrogated IR-induced ERK1/2 phosphorylation. In contrast, inhibition of HER1 using specific inhibitors or decreasing expression of HER3 or HER4 using short hairpin RNAs did not block the induction of G2/M arrest following IR. These results suggest an important role of HER2 in the activation of G2/M checkpoint response following IR.
Project description:Radiotherapy is the cornerstone of glioblastoma (GBM) standard treatment. However, radioresistance of cancer cells leads to an inevitable recurrence. In the present study, we showed that blocking ?6-integrin in cells derived from GBM biopsy specimens cultured as neurospheres, sensitized cells to radiation. In cells downregulated for ?6-integrin expression, we observed a decrease in cell survival after irradiation and an increase in radio-induced cell death. We also demonstrated that inhibition of ?6-integrin expression affects DNA damage checkpoint and repair. Indeed, we observed a persistence of ?-H2AX staining after IR and the abrogation of the DNA damage-induced G2/M checkpoint, likely through the downregulation of the checkpoint kinase CHK1 and its downstream target Cdc25c. We also showed that ?6-integrin contributes to GBM radioresistance by controlling the expression of the transcriptional network ZEB1/OLIG2/SOX2. Finally, the clinical data from TCGA and Rembrandt databases demonstrate that GBM patients with high levels of the five genes signature, including ?6-integrin and its targets, CHK1, ZEB1, OLIG2 and SOX2, have a significantly shorter overall survival. Our study suggest that ?6-integrin is an attractive therapeutic target to overcome radioresistance of GBM cancer cells.
Project description:"Glioma Stem Cells" (GSCs) are known to play a role in glioblastoma (GBM) recurrence. Homologous recombination (HR) defects and cell cycle checkpoint abnormalities can contribute concurrently to the radioresistance of GSCs. DNA repair protein RAD51 homolog 1 (RAD51) is a crucial protein for HR and its inhibition has been shown to sensitize GSCs to irradiation. The aim of this study was to examine the consequences of ionizing radiation (IR) for cell cycle progression in GSCs. In addition, we intended to assess the potential effect of RAD51 inhibition on cell cycle progression. Five radiosensitive GSC lines and five GSC lines that were previously characterized as radioresistant were exposed to 4Gy IR, and cell cycle analysis was done by fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) at 24, 48, 72, and 96 h with or without RAD51 inhibitor. Following 4Gy IR, all GSC lines presented a significant increase in G2 phase at 24 h, which was maintained over 72 h. In the presence of RAD51 inhibitor, radioresistant GSCs showed delayed G2 arrest post-irradiation for up to 48 h. This study demonstrates that all GSCs can promote G2 arrest in response to radiation-induced DNA damage. However, following RAD51 inhibition, the cell cycle checkpoint response differed. This study contributes to the characterization of the radioresistance mechanisms of GSCs, thereby supporting the rationale of targeting RAD51-dependent repair pathways in view of radiosensitizing GSCs.
Project description:DNA damage response (DDR) to double strand breaks is coordinated by 3 phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase-related kinase (PIKK) family members: the ataxia-telangiectasia mutated kinase (ATM), the ATM and Rad3-related (ATR) kinase and the catalytic subunit of the DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PKcs). ATM and ATR are central players in activating cell cycle checkpoints and function as an active barrier against genome instability and tumorigenesis in replicating cells. Loss of ATM function is frequently reported in various types of tumors, thus placing more reliance on ATR for checkpoint arrest and cell survival following DNA damage. To investigate the role of ATR in the G2/M checkpoint regulation in response to ionizing radiation (IR), particularly when ATM is deficient, cell lines deficient of ATM, ATR, or both were generated using a doxycycline-inducible lentiviral system. Our data suggests that while depletion of ATR or ATM alone in wild-type human mammary epithelial cell cultures (HME-CCs) has little effect on radiosensitivity or IR-induced G2/M checkpoint arrest, depletion of ATR in ATM-deficient cells causes synthetic lethality following IR, which correlates with severe G2/M checkpoint attenuation. ATR depletion also inhibits IR-induced autophagy, regardless of the ATM status, and enhances IR-induced apoptosis particularly when ATM is deficient. Collectively, our results clearly demonstrate that ATR function is required for the IR-induced G2/M checkpoint activation and subsequent survival of cells with ATM deficiency. The synthetic lethal interaction between ATM and ATR in response to IR supports ATR as a therapeutic target for improved anti-cancer regimens, especially in tumors with a dysfunctional ATM pathway.
Project description:The injurious consequences of ionizing radiation (IR) to normal human cells and the acquired radioresistance of cancer cells represent limitations to cancer radiotherapy. IR induces DNA damage response pathways that orchestrate cell cycle arrest, DNA repair or apoptosis such that irradiated cells are either repaired or eliminated. Concomitantly and independent of DNA damage, IR activates acid sphingomyelinase (ASMase), which generates ceramide, thereby promoting radiation-induced apoptosis. However, ceramide can also be metabolized to sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P), which acts paradoxically as a radioprotectant. Thus, sphingolipid metabolism represents a radiosensitivity pivot point, a notion supported by genetic evidence in IR-resistant cancer cells. S1P lyase (SPL) catalyzes the irreversible degradation of S1P in the final step of sphingolipid metabolism. We show that SPL modulates the kinetics of DNA repair, speed of recovery from G2 cell cycle arrest and the extent of apoptosis after IR. SPL acts through a novel feedback mechanism that amplifies stress-induced ceramide accumulation, and downregulation/inhibition of either SPL or ASMase prevents premature cell cycle progression and mitotic death. Further, oral administration of an SPL inhibitor to mice prolonged their survival after exposure to a lethal dose of total body IR. Our findings reveal SPL to be a regulator of ASMase, the G2 checkpoint and DNA repair and a novel target for radioprotection.
Project description:DNA-dependent protein kinase catalytic subunit (DNA-PKcs) is a distinct factor in the non-homologous end-joining (NHEJ) pathway involved in DNA double-strand break (DSB) repair. We examined the crosstalk between key proteins in the DSB NHEJ repair pathway and cell cycle regulation and found that mouse embryonic fibroblast (MEF) cells deficient in DNA-PKcs or Ku70 were more vulnerable to ionizing radiation (IR) compared with wild-type cells and that DSB repair was delayed. ?H2AX was associated with phospho-Ataxia-telangiectasia mutated kinase (Ser1987) and phospho-checkpoint effector kinase 1 (Ser345) foci for the arrest of cell cycle through the G2/M phase. Inhibition of DNA-PKcs prolonged IR-induced G2/M phase arrest because of sequential activation of cell cycle checkpoints. DSBs were introduced, and cell cycle checkpoints were recruited after exposure to IR in nasopharyngeal carcinoma SUNE-1 cells. NU7441 radiosensitized MEF cells and SUNE-1 cells by interfering with DSB repair. Together, these results reveal a mechanism in which coupling of DSB repair with the cell cycle radiosensitizes NHEJ repair-deficient cells, justifying further development of DNA-PK inhibitors in cancer therapy.
Project description:Radiation therapy is a common and acceptable approach for lung cancer. Although the benefit of ionizing radiation (IR) is well-established, cancer cells can still survive via pro-survival and metastasis signaling pathways. Ras related C3 botulinum toxin substrate1 (RAC1), a member of Rho family GTPases, plays important roles in cell migration and survival. In the present study, we investigated the effects of RAC1 on the survival of lung cancer cells treated with irradiation. The results showed RAC1 is overexpressed in lung cancer cells and promoted cell proliferation and survival. Furthermore, IR induced RAC1 expression and activity via the activation of PI3K/AKT signaling pathway, and then enhancing cell proliferation, survival, migration and metastasis and increasing levels of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) markers, which facilitated the cell survival and invasive phenotypes. In addition, overexpression of RAC1 attenuated the efficacy of irradiation, while inhibition of RAC1 enhanced sensitivity of irradiation in xenograft tumors in vivo. Collectively, we further found that RAC1 enhanced radioresistance by promoting EMT via targeting the PAK1-LIMK1-Cofilins signaling in lung cancer. Our finding provides the evidences to explore RAC1 as a therapeutic target for radioresistant lung cancer cells.
Project description:To improve the efficacy of chemoradiation therapy for locally advanced pancreatic cancer and begin to establish patient selection criteria, we investigated the combination of the WEE1 inhibitor AZD1775 with gemcitabine-radiation in homologous recombination (HR) repair proficient and deficient pancreatic cancers. Sensitization to gemcitabine-radiation by AZD1775 was assessed in pancreatic cancer cells by clonogenic survival and in patient-derived xenografts by tumor growth. The contributions of HR repair inhibition and G2 checkpoint abrogation to sensitization were assessed by ?H2AX, BRCA2 manipulation, and RAD51 focus formation and pHistone H3 flow cytometry, respectively. We found that AZD1775 sensitized to gemcitabine-radiation in BRCA2 wild-type but not BRCA2 mutant pancreatic cancer cells. In all cells, AZD1775 caused inhibition of CDK1 phosphorylation and G2 checkpoint abrogation. However, sensitization by AZD1775 was associated with persistent ?H2AX and inhibition of RAD51 focus formation. In HR-proficient (BRCA2 wild-type) or -deficient (BRAC2 null) isogenic cells, AZD1775 sensitized to gemcitabine-radiation in BRCA2 wild-type, but not in BRCA2 null cells, despite significant G2 checkpoint abrogation. In patient-derived pancreatic tumor xenografts, AZD1775 significantly inhibited tumor growth and impaired RAD51 focus formation in response to gemcitabine-radiation. In conclusion, WEE1 inhibition by AZD1775 is an effective strategy for sensitizing pancreatic cancers to gemcitabine chemoradiation. Although this sensitization is accompanied by inhibition of CDK1 phosphorylation and G2 checkpoint abrogation, this mechanism is not sufficient for sensitization. Our findings demonstrate that sensitization to chemoradiation by WEE1 inhibition results from inhibition of HR repair and suggest that patient tumors without underlying HR defects would benefit most from this therapy.