Project description:Malignant tumors reprogram cellular metabolism to support cancer cell proliferation and survival. Although most cancers depend on a high rate of aerobic glycolysis, many cancer cells also display addiction to glutamine. Glutamine transporters and glutaminase activity are critical for glutamine metabolism in tumor cells. We found that the receptor tyrosine kinase EphA2 activated the TEAD family transcriptional coactivators YAP and TAZ (YAP/TAZ), likely in a ligand-independent manner, to promote glutamine metabolism in cells and mouse models of HER2-positive breast cancer. Overexpression of EphA2 induced the nuclear accumulation of YAP and TAZ and increased the expression of YAP/TAZ target genes. Inhibition of the GTPase Rho or the kinase ROCK abolished EphA2-dependent YAP/TAZ nuclear localization. Silencing YAP or TAZ substantially reduced the amount of intracellular glutamate through decreased expression of SLC1A5 and GLS, respectively, genes that encode proteins that promote glutamine uptake and metabolism. The regulatory DNA elements of both SLC1A5 and GLS contain TEAD binding sites and were bound by TEAD4 in an EphA2-dependent manner. In patient breast cancer tissues, EphA2 expression positively correlated with that of YAP and TAZ, as well as that of GLS and SLC1A5 Although high expression of EphA2 predicted enhanced metastatic potential and poor patient survival, it also rendered HER2-positive breast cancer cells more sensitive to glutaminase inhibition. The findings define a previously unknown mechanism of EphA2-mediated glutaminolysis through YAP/TAZ activation in HER2-positive breast cancer and identify potential therapeutic targets in patients.
Project description:EphA2 is a receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) that triggers keratinocyte differentiation upon activation and subsequent downregulation by ephrin-A1 ligand. The objective of this study was to determine whether the EphA2/ephrin-A1 signaling axis was altered in psoriasis, an inflammatory skin condition in which keratinocyte differentiation is abnormal. Microarray analysis of skin biopsies from psoriasis patients revealed increased mRNA transcripts for several members of this RTK family in plaques, including the EphA1, EphA2, and EphA4 subtypes prominently expressed by keratinocytes. Of these, EphA2 showed the greatest upregulation, a finding that was confirmed by quantitative reverse-transcriptase-PCR, immunohistochemistry (IHC), and ELISA. In contrast, psoriatic lesions exhibited reduced ephrin-A ligand immunoreactivity. Exposure of primary keratinocytes induced to differentiate in high calcium or a three-dimensional (3D) raft culture of human epidermis to a combination of growth factors and cytokines elevated in psoriasis increased EphA2 mRNA and protein expression while inducing S100A7 and disrupting differentiation. Pharmacological delivery of a soluble ephrin-A1 peptidomimetic ligand led to a reduction in EphA2 expression and ameliorated proliferation and differentiation in raft cultures exposed to EGF and IL-1?. These findings suggest that ephrin-A1-mediated downregulation of EphA2 supports keratinocyte differentiation in the context of cytokine perturbation.
Project description:C1GALT1 controls the crucial step of GalNAc-type O-glycosylation and is associated with both physiologic and pathologic conditions, including cancers. EPH receptors comprise the largest family of receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) and modulate a diverse range of developmental processes and human diseases. However, the role of C1GALT1 in the signaling of EPH receptors remains largely overlooked. Here, we showed that C1GALT1 high expression in gastric adenocarcinomas correlated with adverse clinicopathologic features and is an independent prognostic factor for poor overall survival. Silencing or loss of C1GALT1 inhibited cell viability, migration, invasion, tumor growth and metastasis, as well as increased apoptosis and cytotoxicity of 5-fluorouracil in AGS and MKN45 cells. Phospho-RTK array and western blot analysis showed that C1GALT1 depletion suppressed tyrosine phosphorylation of EPHA2 induced by soluble Ephrin A1-Fc. O-glycans on EPHA2 were modified by C1GALT1 and both S277A and T429A mutants, which are O-glycosites on EPHA2, dramatically enhanced phosphorylation of Y588, suggesting that not only overall O-glycan structures but also site-specific O-glycosylation can regulate EPHA2 activity. Furthermore, depletion of C1GALT1 decreased Ephrin A1-Fc induced migration and reduced Ephrin A1 binding to cell surfaces. The effects of C1GALT1 knockdown or knockout on cell invasiveness in vitro and in vivo were phenocopied by EPHA2 knockdown in gastric cancer cells. These results suggest that C1GALT1 promotes phosphorylation of EPHA2 and enhances soluble Ephrin A1-mediated migration primarily by modifying EPHA2 O-glycosylation. Our study highlights the importance of GalNAc-type O-glycosylation in EPH receptor-regulated diseases and identifies C1GALT1 as a potential therapeutic target for gastric cancer.
Project description:The EphA2 receptor and its ephrin-A1 ligand form a key cell communication system, which has been found overexpressed in many cancer types and involved in tumor growth. Recent medicinal chemistry efforts have identified bile acid derivatives as low micromolar binders of the EphA2 receptor. However, these compounds suffer from poor physicochemical properties, hampering their use in vivo. The identification of compounds able to disrupt the EphA2-ephrin-A1 complex lacking the bile acid scaffold may lead to new pharmacological tools suitable for in vivo studies. To identify the most promising virtual screening (VS) protocol aimed at finding novel EphA2 antagonists, we investigated the ability of both ligand-based and structure-based approaches to retrieve known EphA2 antagonists from libraries of decoys with similar molecular properties. While ligand-based VSs were conducted using UniPR129 and ephrin-A1 ligand as reference structures, structure-based VSs were performed with Glide, using the X-ray structure of the EphA2 receptor/ephrin-A1 complex. A comparison of enrichment factors showed that ligand-based approaches outperformed the structure-based ones, suggesting ligand-based methods using the G-H loop of ephrin-A1 ligand as template as the most promising protocols to search for novel EphA2 antagonists.
Project description:Both pro- and antioncogenic properties have been attributed to EphA2 kinase. We report that a possible cause for this apparent paradox is diametrically opposite roles of EphA2 in regulating cell migration and invasion. While activation of EphA2 with its ligand ephrin-A1 inhibited chemotactic migration of glioma and prostate cancer cells, EphA2 overexpression promoted migration in a ligand-independent manner. Surprisingly, the latter effects required phosphorylation of EphA2 on serine 897 by Akt, and S897A mutation abolished ligand-independent promotion of cell motility. Ephrin-A1 stimulation of EphA2 negated Akt activation by growth factors and caused EphA2 dephosphorylation on S897. In human astrocytoma, S897 phosphorylation was correlated with tumor grades and Akt activation, suggesting that the Akt-EphA2 crosstalk may contribute to brain tumor progression.
Project description:Ephrin receptors (Ephs) are reported to control metastatic signaling of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and other tumors. Here we show for the first time that blocking expression of the Eph ligand Ephrin B3 inhibits NSCLC cell migration and invasion. We demonstrate that Ephrin B3 directly binds the EphAs EphA2, EphA3, EphA4, and EphA5. EphA2 Ser897 was previously shown to drive migration propensity of tumor cells and our study reveals that EphA2 stays phosphorylated on Ser897 in the Ephrin B3/EphA2 complex in NSCLC cells of different histology. Moreover, we report that within such Ephrin B3/EphA2 complex both Akt Ser 129 and p38MAPK are found indicating a potential to drive migration/proliferation. We also found the EMT marker E-cadherin expression to be maintained or increased upon Ephrin B3 blockade in NSCLC cells. Expression of Ephrin B3 was furthermore analyzed in a cohort of NSCLC stage IA-IB cases (n=200) alongside EphA2 and Ephrin A1. We found that Ephrin B3 was concomitantly expressed with EphA2 and Ephrin A1 with higher Ephrin B3 levels found in non-squamous than in squamous tumors, whereas EphA2 was higher expressed in well-differentiated than in low-differentiated tumors. In the entire NSCLC cohort, Ephrin B3 expression was not linked to patient survival, whereas a high EphA2 expression was associated with improved survival (p=0.03). In conclusion, we show that blocking Ephrin B3 expression inhibits NSCLC proliferation-, migration- and invasion capacity which calls for further studies on interference with Ephrin B3 as a possible therapeutic avenue in this tumor malignancy.
Project description:Juxtacrine signaling interactions between the EphA2 receptor tyrosine kinase and its ephrin-A1 ligand contribute to healthy tissue maintenance and misregulation of this system is observed in at least 40% of human breast cancer. Hybrid live cell-supported membrane experiments in which membrane-linked ephrin-A1 displayed in supported membranes interacts with EphA2 in living cells have revealed large scale clustering of EphA2/ephrin-A1 complexes as well as their lateral transport across the cell surface during triggering. Here, we utilize 100 nm spaced hexagonally ordered arrays of gold nanodots embedded within supported membranes to present defined obstacles to the movement and assembly of EphA2 clusters. By functionalizing both the supported membrane and the nanodots with ephrin-A1, we perform a type of affinity chromatography on EphA2 signaling clusters in live cell membranes. Analysis of 10 different breast cancer cell lines reveals that EphA2 transport is most frustrated by nanodot arrays in the most diseased cell lines. These observations suggest that strong physical association among EphA2 receptors, as well as their assembly into larger clusters, correlates with and may contribute to the pathological misregulation of the EphA2/ephrin-A1 pathway in breast cancer.
Project description:During tumor progression, EphA2 receptor can gain ligand-independent pro-oncogenic functions due to Akt activation and reduced ephrin-A ligand engagement. The effects can be reversed by ligand stimulation, which triggers the intrinsic tumor suppressive signaling pathways of EphA2 including inhibition of PI3/Akt and Ras/ERK pathways. These observations argue for development of small molecule agonists for EphA2 as potential tumor intervention agents. Through virtual screening and cell-based assays, we report here the identification and characterization of doxazosin as a novel small molecule agonist for EphA2 and EphA4, but not for other Eph receptors tested. NMR studies revealed extensive contacts of doxazosin with EphA2/A4, recapitulating both hydrophobic and electrostatic interactions recently found in the EphA2/ephrin-A1 complex. Clinically used as an ?1-adrenoreceptor antagonist (Cardura®) for treating hypertension and benign prostate hyperplasia, doxazosin activated EphA2 independent of ?1-adrenoreceptor. Similar to ephrin-A1, doxazosin inhibited Akt and ERK kinase activities in an EphA2-dependent manner. Treatment with doxazosin triggered EphA2 receptor internalization, and suppressed haptotactic and chemotactic migration of prostate cancer, breast cancer, and glioma cells. Moreover, in an orthotopic xenograft model, doxazosin reduced distal metastasis of human prostate cancer cells and prolonged survival in recipient mice. To our knowledge, doxazosin is the first small molecule agonist of a receptor tyrosine kinase that is capable of inhibiting malignant behaviors in vitro and in vivo.
Project description:The receptor tyrosine kinase EphA2 interacts with its glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-linked ephrin-A1 ligand in a juxtacrine configuration. The soluble ephrin-A1 protein, without its GPI membrane linker, fails to activate EphA2. However, preclustered ephrin-A1 protein is active in solution and has been frequently used to trigger the EphA2 receptor. Although this approach has yielded insights into EphA2 signaling, preclustered ligands bypass natural receptor clustering processes and thus mask any role of clustering as a signal regulatory mechanism. Here, we present EphA2-expressing cells with a fusion protein of monomeric ephrin-A1 (mEA1) and enhanced monomeric yellow fluorescent protein that is linked to a supported lipid bilayer via a nickel-decahistidine anchor. The mEA1 is homogeneously dispersed, laterally mobile, and monomeric as measured by fluorescence imaging, correlation spectroscopy, and photon counting histogram analysis, respectively. Ephrin-A1 presented in this manner activates EphA2 on the surface of MDA-MB-231 human breast cancer cells, as measured by EphA2 phosphorylation and degradation. Spatial mutation experiments in which nanopatterns on the underlying substrate restrict mEA1 movement in the supported lipid bilayer reveal spatio-mechanical regulation of this signaling pathway, consistent with recently reported observations using a synthetically cross-linked ephrin-A1 dimer.
Project description:Angiogenesis plays an important role in bladder cancer (BCa). The immunosuppressive drug leflunomide has attracted worldwide attention. However, the effects of leflunomide on angiogenesis in cancer remain unclear. Here, we report the increased expression of soluble ephrin-A1 (sEphrin-A1) in supernatants of BCa cell lines (RT4, T24, and TCCSUP) co-cultured with human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) compared with that in immortalized uroepithelial cells (SV-HUC-1) co-cultured with HUVECs. sEphrin-A1 is released from BCa cells as a monomeric protein that is a functional form of the ligand. The co-culture supernatants containing sEphrin-A1 caused the internalization and down-regulation of EphA2 on endothelial cells and dramatic functional activation of HUVECs. This sEphrin-A1/EphA2 system is mainly functional in regulating angiogenesis in BCa tissue. We showed that leflunomide (LEF) inhibited angiogenesis in a N-butyl-N-(4-hydroxybutyl)-nitrosamine (BBN)-induced bladder carcinogenesis model and a tumor xenograft model, as well as in BCa cell and HUVEC co-culture systems, via significant inhibition of the sEphrin-A1/EphA2 system. Ephrin-A1 overexpression could partially reverse LEF-induced suppression of angiogenesis and subsequent tumor growth inhibition. Thus, LEF has a significant anti-angiogenesis effect on BCa cells and BCa tissue via its inhibition of the functional angiogenic sEphrin-A1/EphA2 system and may have potential for treating BCa beyond immunosuppressive therapy.