A novel small-molecule compound targeting CD147 inhibits the motility and invasion of hepatocellular carcinoma cells.
ABSTRACT: CD147, a type I transmembrane glycoprotein, is highly expressed in various cancer types and plays important roles in tumor progression, especially by promoting the motility and invasion of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells. These crucial roles make CD147 an attractive target for therapeutic intervention in HCC, but no small-molecule inhibitors of CD147 have been developed to date. To identify a candidate inhibitor, we used a pharmacophore model derived from the structure of CD147 to virtually screen over 300,000 compounds. The 100 highest-ranked compounds were subjected to biological assays, and the most potent one, dubbed AC-73 (ID number: AN-465/42834501), was studied further. We confirmed that AC-73 targeted CD147 and further demonstrated it can specifically disrupt CD147 dimerization. Moreover, molecular docking and mutagenesis experiments showed that the possible binding sites of AC-73 on CD147 included Glu64 and Glu73 in the N-terminal IgC2 domain, which two residues are located in the dimer interface of CD147. Functional assays revealed that AC-73 inhibited the motility and invasion of typical HCC cells, but not HCC cells that lacked the CD147 gene, demonstrating on-target action. Further, AC-73 reduced HCC metastasis by suppressing matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 via down-regulation of the CD147/ERK1/2/signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) signaling pathway. Finally, AC-73 attenuated progression in an orthotopic nude mouse model of liver metastasis, suggesting that AC-73 or its derivatives have potential for use in HCC intervention. We conclude that the novel small-molecule inhibitor AC-73 inhibits HCC mobility and invasion, probably by disrupting CD147 dimerization and thereby mainly suppressing the CD147/ERK1/2/STAT3/MMP-2 pathways, which are crucial for cancer progression.
Project description:Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the major form of primary liver cancer, is a common cause of cancer-related death worldwide. Signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) signaling is constantly activated in HCC and has been proposed as a chemotherapeutic target for HCC. <i>Antrodia camphorata</i> (AC), a medicinal mushroom unique to Taiwan, is traditionally used for treating HCC. Whereas natural AC is scarce, cultured AC mycelia are becoming alternatives. In this study, we investigated the anti-HCC effects of the ethyl acetate fraction of an ethanolic extract of AC mycelia (EEAC), particularly exploring the involvement of STAT3 signaling in these effects. We found that EEAC reduced cell viability, induced apoptosis, and retarded migration and invasion in cultured HepG2 and SMMC-7721 cells. Immunoblotting results showed that EEAC downregulated protein levels of phosphorylated and total STAT3 and JAK2 (an upstream kinase of STAT3) in HCC cells. Real-time PCR analyses showed that STAT3, but not JAK2, mRNA levels were decreased by EEAC. EEAC also lowered the protein level of nuclear STAT3, decreased the transcriptional activity of STAT3, and downregulated protein levels of STAT3-targeted molecules, including anti-apoptotic proteins Bcl-xL and Bcl-2, and invasion-related proteins MMP-2 and MMP-9. Over-activation of STAT3 in HCC cells diminished the cytotoxic effects of EEAC. In SMMC-7721 cell-bearing mice, EEAC (100 mg/kg, i.g. for 18 days) significantly inhibited tumor growth. Consistent with our <i>in vitro</i> data, EEAC induced apoptosis and suppressed JAK2/STAT3 activation/phosphorylation in the tumors. Taken together, EEAC exerts anti-HCC effects both <i>in vitro</i> and <i>in vivo</i>; and inhibition of STAT3 signaling is, at least in part, responsible for these effects. We did not observe significant toxicity of EEAC in normal human liver-derived cells, nude mice and rats. Our results provide a pharmacological basis for developing EEAC as a safe and effective agent for HCC management.
Project description:CD147 is a transmembrane glycoprotein with multiple functions in human healthy tissues and diseases, in particular in cancer. Overexpression of CD147 correlates with biological functions that promote tumor progression and confers resistance to chemotherapeutic drugs. In contrast to solid tumors, the role of CD147 has not been extensively studied in leukemia. Understanding whether CD147 represents a new hematologic target and whether its inhibitor AC-73 may be used in leukemia therapy may reveal an alternative treatment strategy in patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). We analyzed CD147 expression and function in hematopoietic progenitor cells from normal cord blood, in several leukemic cell lines and in primary leukemic blasts obtained from patients with AML. We investigated the effects of AC-73, used alone or in combination with arabinosylcytosine (Ara-C) and arsenic trioxide (ATO), on leukemic cell proliferation. We demonstrated that CD147 overexpression promotes leukemic cell proliferation. We showed that AC-73 exhibits a potent growth inhibitory activity in leukemic cells, by inhibiting the ERK/STAT3 activation pathway and activating autophagy. We demonstrated that AC-73 exerts an anti-proliferative effect additive to chemotherapy by enhancing leukemic cell sensitivity to Ara-C-induced cytotoxicity or to ATO-induced autophagy. We also reported CD147 expression in the fraction of leukemic blasts expressing CD371, a marker of leukemic stem cells. Altogether, our study indicates CD147 as a novel potential target in the treatment of AML and AC-73 as an anti-proliferative drug and an inducer of autophagy in leukemic cells to use in combination with chemotherapeutic agents.
Project description:An increased surface level of CIE (clathrin-independent endocytosis) proteins is a new feature of malignant neoplasms. CD147 is a CIE glycoprotein highly up-regulated in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The ability to sort out the early endosome and directly target the recycling pathway confers on CD147 a prolonged surface half-life. However, current knowledge on CD147 trafficking to and from the cell-surface is limited. In this study, an MSP (membrane and secreted protein)-cDNA library was screened against EpoR/LR-F3/CD147EP-expressed cells by MAPPIT (mammalian protein-protein interaction trap). CD147 co-expressing with the new binder was investigated by GEPIA (gene expression profiling interactive analysis). The endocytosis, ER-Golgi trafficking and recycling of CD147 were measured by confocal imaging, flow cytometry, and biotin-labeled chase assays, respectively. Rab GTPase activation was checked by GST-RBD pull-down and MMP activity was measured by gelatin zymography. HCC malignant phenotypes were determined by cell adhesion, proliferation, migration, Transwell motility, and invasion assays. An ER-Golgi-resident transmembrane protein YIPF2 was identified as an intracellular binder to CD147. YIPF2 correlated and co-expressed with CD147, which is a survival predictor for HCC patients. YIPF2 is critical for CD147 glycosylation and trafficking functions in HCC cells. YIPF2 acts as a Rab-GDF (GDI-displacement factor) regulating three independent trafficking steps. First, YIPF2 recruits and activates Rab5 and Rab22a GTPases to the endomembrane structures. Second, YIPF2 modulates the endocytic recycling of CD147 through distinctive regulation on Rab5 and Rab22a. Third, YIPF2 mediates the mature processing of CD147 via the ER-Golgi trafficking route. Decreased YIPF2 expression induced a CD147 efficient delivery to the cell-surface, promoted MMP secretion, and enhanced the adhesion, motility, migration, and invasion behaviors of HCC cells. Thus, YIPF2 is a new trafficking determinant essential for CD147 glycosylation and transport. Our findings revealed a novel YIPF2-controlled ER-Golgi trafficking signature that promotes CD147-medated malignant phenotypes in HCC.
Project description:Metastasis is considered a dynamic process in tumor development that is related to abnormal migration and invasion. Tumor cells can move as individual cells in two interconvertible modes: mesenchymal-type and amoeboid. Previously, we reported that the interaction between CD147 and Annexin II can inhibit the amoeboid movement in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells. However, the mechanism of CD147 involved in mesenchymal movement is still unclear. Notably, our results show overexpression of CD147 led to mesenchymal-type movement in HCC cells. Evidence indicated that the mesenchymal-type cell movement induced by CD147 was Src dependent, as observed by confocal microscopy and Rac1 activity assay. The phosphorylation of Src (pY416-Src) can be up-regulated by CD147, and this regulation is mediated by focal adhesion kinase (FAK). Next, we identified DOCK8 as a GEF for Rac1, a key molecule driving mesenchymal-type movement. We also found that Src promotes STAT3 phosphorylation and STAT3 facilitates DOCK8 transcription, thus enhancing DOCK8 expression and Rac1 activation. This study provides a novel mechanism of CD147 regulating mesenchymal-type movement in HCC cells.
Project description:BACKGROUND: As a surface glycoprotein, CD147 is capable of stimulating the production of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) from neighboring fibroblasts. The aim of the present study is to explore the role of soluble CD147 on MMPs secretion from hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells, and to investigate the diagnostic value of serum soluble CD147 in the HCC detection. METHODS: We identified the form of soluble CD147 in cell culture supernate of HCC cells and serum of patients with HCC, and explored the role of soluble CD147 on MMPs secretion. Serum CD147 levels were detected by the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and the value of soluble CD147 as a marker in HCC detection was analyzed. RESULTS: Full length soluble CD147 was presented in the culture medium of HCC cells and serum of patients with HCC. The extracellular domain of soluble CD147 promoted the expression of CD147 and MMP-2 from HCC cells. Knockdown of CD147 markedly diminished the up-regulation of CD147 and MMP-2 which induced by soluble CD147. Soluble CD147 activated ERK, FAK, and PI3K/Akt pathways, leading to the up-regulation of MMP-2. The level of soluble CD147 in serum of patients with HCC was significantly elevated compared with healthy individuals (P?<?0.001). Soluble CD147 levels were found to be associated with HCC tumor size (P?=?0.007) and Child-Pugh grade (P?=?0.007). Moreover, soluble CD147 showed a better performance in distinguishing HCC compared with alpha-fetoprotein. CONCLUSIONS: The extracellular domain of soluble CD147 enhances the secretion of MMP-2 from HCC cells, requiring the cooperation of membrane CD147 and activation of ERK, FAK, and PI3K/Akt signaling. The measurement of soluble CD147 may offer a useful approach in diagnosis of HCC.
Project description:STAT3-STAT3 dimerization, which involves reciprocal binding of the STAT3-SH2 domain to phosphorylated tyrosine-705 (Y-705), is required for STAT3 nuclear translocation, DNA binding, and transcriptional regulation of downstream target genes. Here, we describe a small molecule S3I-1757 capable of disrupting STAT3-STAT3 dimerization, activation, and malignant transforming activity. Fluorescence polarization assay and molecular modeling suggest that S3I-1757 interacts with the phospho-Y-705-binding site in the SH2 domain and displaces fluorescein-labeled GpYLPQTV phosphotyrosine peptide from binding to STAT3. We generated hemagglutinin (HA)-tagged STAT3 and FLAG-tagged STAT3 and showed using coimmunoprecipitation and colocalization studies that S3I-1757 inhibits STAT3 dimerization and STAT3-EGF receptor (EGFR) binding in intact cells. Treatment of human cancer cells with S3I-1757 (but not a closely related analog, S3I-1756, which does not inhibit STAT3 dimerization), inhibits selectively the phosphorylation of STAT3 over AKT1 and ERK1/2 (MAPK3/1), nuclear accumulation of P-Y705-STAT3, STAT3-DNA binding, and transcriptional activation and suppresses the expression levels of STAT3 target genes, such as Bcl-xL (BCL2L1), survivin (BIRC5), cyclin D1 (CCND1), and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-9. Furthermore, S3I-1757, but not S3I-1756, inhibits anchorage-dependent and -independent growth, migration, and invasion of human cancer cells, which depend on STAT3. Finally, STAT3-C, a genetically engineered mutant of STAT3 that forms a constitutively dimerized STAT3, rescues cells from the effects of S3I-1757 inhibition. Thus, we have developed S3I-1757 as a STAT3-STAT3 dimerization inhibitor capable of blocking hyperactivated STAT3 and suppressing malignant transformation in human cancer cells that depend on STAT3.
Project description:Elevated copper levels in tumor microenvironment are directly correlated to cancer progression in a variety of malignancies. Copper is required in angiogenesis, and promotes the proliferation and metastasis of cancer cells. However, the molecular mechanism of copper in promoting cancer progression remains elusive. Here we report that CD147 serves as a signaling receptor for extracellular Cu2+ in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells. Cu2+ binds to the extracellular membrane-proximal domain of CD147 and mediates its self-association. Cu2+-mediated self-association of CD147 activates PI3K/Akt signaling pathway leading to the up-regulation of matrix metalloproteinase MMP-2 and MMP-14 in HCC cells. Cu2+-induced CD147 self-association also enhances the ability of HCC cells to stimulate MMP-2 expression from neighboring fibroblasts, as well as increases the invasiveness of HCC cells which is abolished by the copper chelator tetrathiomolybdate. We have mapped the interfaces and identified the key residues of CD147 involved in the Cu2+ induced self-association. The Cu2+ binding deficient CD147 mutant abolishes the stimulating effects of Cu2+ on HCC cells. Our study reveals a novel extracellular signaling role of copper in promoting cancer cell metastasis, which implies that targeting the Cu2+-induced self-association of CD147 is a new strategy for cancer treatment.
Project description:The role of heparin as an anticoagulant is well defined; however, its role in tumorigenesis and tumor progression is not clear yet. Some studies have shown that anticoagulant treatment in cancer patients improve overall survival, however, recent clinical trials have not shown a survival benefit in cancer patients receiving heparin treatment. In our previous studies we have shown the inhibitory effects of heparin on Hepatocyte Growth Factor (HGF)-induced invasion and migration in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells. In this study, we showed the differential effects of heparin on the behaviors of HCC cells based on the presence or absence of HGF. In the absence of HGF, heparin activated HGF/c-Met signaling and promoted motility and invasion in HCC cells. Heparin treatment led to c-Met receptor dimerization and activated c-Met signaling in an HGF independent manner. Heparin-induced c-Met activation increased migration and invasion through ERK1/2, early growth response factor 1 (EGR1) and Matrix Metalloproteinases (MMP) axis. Interestingly, heparin modestly decreased the proliferation of HCC cells by inhibiting activatory phosphorylation of Akt. The inhibition of c-Met signaling reversed heparin-induced increase in motility and invasion and, proliferation inhibition. Our study provides a new perspective into the role of heparin on c-Met signaling in HCC.
Project description:The prognosis for patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is poor, and the mechanisms underlying the development of HCC remain unclear. Notch1 and Notch3 may be involved in malignant transformation, although their roles remain unknown.HCC tissues were stained with anti-Notch1 or -Notch3 antibody. The migration and invasion capacities of the cells were measured with transwell cell culture chambers. RT-PCR was used to measure the expression of Notch1 and Notch3 mRNA. Additionally, western blot analysis was used to assess the protein expression of Notch1, Notch3, CD44v6, E-cadherin, matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2), MMP-9, and urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA). RNA interference was used to down-regulate the expression of Notch1 and Notch3. Cell viability was assessed using MTT.Based on immunohistochemistry, high Notch1 expression was correlated with tumor size, tumor grade, metastasis, venous invasion and AJCC TNM stage. High Notch3 expression was only strongly correlated with metastasis, venous invasion and satellite lesions. Kaplan-Meier curves demonstrated that patients with high Notch1 or Notch3 expression were at a significantly increased risk for shortened survival time. In vitro, the down-regulation of Notch1 decreased the migration and invasion capacities of HCC cells by regulating CD44v6, E-cadherin, MMP-2, MMP-9, and uPA via the COX-2 and ERK1/2 pathways. Down-regulation of Notch3 only decreased the invasion capacity of HCC cells by regulating MMP-2 and MMP-9 via the ERK1/2 pathway.Based on the migration and invasion of HCC, we hypothesize that targeting Notch1 may be more useful than Notch3 for designing novel preventive and therapeutic strategies for HCC in the near future.
Project description:BACKGROUND: CD147 is a widely distributed cell surface glycoprotein that belongs to the Ig superfamily. CD147 has been implicated in numerous physiological and pathological activities. Enriched on the surface of many tumor cells, CD147 promotes tumor growth, invasion, metastasis and angiogenesis and confers resistance to some chemotherapeutic drugs. In this study, we investigated the possible role of CD147 in the progression of gastric cancer. METHODS: Short hairpin RNA (shRNA) expressing vectors targeting CD147 were constructed and transfected into human gastric cancer cells SGC7901 and CD147 expression was monitored by quantitative realtime RT-PCR and Western blot. Cell proliferation, the activities of MMP-2 and MMP-9, the invasive potential and chemosensitivity to cisplatin of SGC7901 cells were determined by MTT, gelatin zymography, Transwell invasion assay and MTT, respectively. RESULTS: Down-regulation of CD147 by RNAi approach led to decreased cell proliferation, MMP-2 and MMP-9 activities and invasive potential of SGC7901 cells as well as increased chemosensitivity to cisplatin. CONCLUSION: CD147 involves in proliferation, invasion and chemosensitivity of human gastric cancer cell line SGC7901, indicating that CD147 may be a promising therapeutic target for gastric cancer.