Soluble factors from stellate cells induce pancreatic cancer cell proliferation via Nrf2-activated metabolic reprogramming and ROS detoxification.
ABSTRACT: Pancreatic stellate cells (PSC), a prominent stromal cell, contribute to the progression of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). We aim to investigate the mechanisms by which PSC promote cell proliferation in PDAC cell lines, BxPC-3 and AsPC-1. PSC-conditioned media (PSC-CM) induced proliferation of these cells in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Nrf2 protein was upregulated and subsequently, its transcriptional activity was increased with greater DNA binding activity and transcription of target genes. Downregulation of Nrf2 led to suppression of PSC-CM activity in BxPC-3, but not in AsPC-1 cells. However, overexpression of Nrf2 alone resulted in increased cell proliferation in both cell lines, and treatment with PSC-CM further enhanced this effect. Activation of Nrf2 pathway resulted in upregulation of metabolic genes involved in pentose phosphate pathway, glutaminolysis and glutathione biosynthesis. Downregulation and inhibition of glucose-6-phosphate-dehydrogenase with siRNA and chemical approaches reduced PSC-mediated cell proliferation. Among the cytokines present in PSC-CM, stromal-derived factor-1 alpha (SDF-1?) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) activated Nrf2 pathway to induce cell proliferation in both cells, as shown with neutralization antibodies, recombinant proteins and signaling inhibitors. Taken together, SDF-1? and IL-6 secreted from PSC induced PDAC cell proliferation via Nrf2-activated metabolic reprogramming and ROS detoxification.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Gemcitabine remains a cornerstone in chemotherapy of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) despite suboptimal clinical effects that are partly due to the development of chemoresistance. Pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs) of the tumor stroma are known to interact with pancreatic cancer cells (PCCs) and influence the progression of PDAC through a complex network of signaling molecules that involve extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins. To understand tumor-stroma interactions regulating chemosensitivity, the role of PSC-secreted fibronectin (FN) in the development of gemcitabine resistance in PDAC was examined. METHODS:PSC cultures obtained from ten different human PDAC tumors were co-cultured with PCC lines (AsPC-1, BxPC-3, Capan-2, HPAF-II, MIA PaCa-2, PANC-1 and SW-1990) either directly, or indirectly via incubation with PSC-conditioned medium (PSC-CM). Gemcitabine dose response cytotoxicity was determined using MTT based cell viability assays. Protein expression was assessed by western blotting and immunofluorescence. PSC-CM secretome analysis was performed by proteomics-based LC-MS/MS, and FN content in PSC-CM was determined with ELISA. Radiolabeled gemcitabine was used to determine the capacity of PCCs to uptake the drug. RESULTS:In both direct and indirect co-culture, PSCs induced varying degrees of resistance to the cytotoxic effects of gemcitabine among all cancer cell lines examined. A variable degree of increased phosphorylation of ERK1/2 was observed across all PCC lines upon incubation with PSC-CM, while activation of AKT was not detected. Secretome analysis of PSC-CM identified 796 different proteins, including several ECM-related proteins such as FN and collagens. Soluble FN content in PSC-CM was detected in the range 175-350?ng/ml. Neither FN nor PSC-CM showed any effect on PCC uptake capacity of gemcitabine. PCCs grown on FN-coated surface displayed higher resistance to gemcitabine compared to cells grown on non-coated surface. Furthermore, a FN inhibitor, synthetic Arg-Gly-Asp-Ser (RGDS) peptide significantly inhibited PSC-CM-induced chemoresistance in PCCs via downregulation of ERK1/2 phosphorylation. CONCLUSIONS:The findings of this study suggest that FN secreted by PSCs in the ECM plays a key role in the development of resistance to gemcitabine via activation of ERK1/2. FN-blocking agents added to gemcitabine-based chemotherapy might counteract chemoresistance in PDAC and provide better clinical outcomes.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Hippo/YAP pathway is known to be important for development, growth and organogenesis, and dysregulation of this pathway leads to tumor progression. We and others find that YAP is up-regulated in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) and associated with worse prognosis of patients. Activated pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs) forming the components of microenvironment that enhance pancreatic cancer cells (PCs) invasiveness and malignance. However, the role and mechanism of YAP in PDAC tumor-stromal interaction is largely unknown.<h4>Methods</h4>The expression of YAP in Pancreatic cancer cell lines and PDAC samples was examined by Western blot and IHC. The biological role of YAP on cancer cell proliferation, epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and invasion were evaluated by MTT, Quantitative real-time PCR analysis, Western blot analysis and invasion assay. The effect of YAP on PSC activation was evaluated by PC-PSC co-culture conditions and xenograft PDAC mouse model.<h4>Results</h4>Firstly, knockdown of YAP inhibits PDAC cell proliferation and invasion in vitro. In addition, YAP modulates the PC and PSC interaction via reducing the production of connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) from PCs, inhibits paracrine-mediated PSC activation under PC-PSC co-culture conditions and in turn disrupts TGF-?1-mediated tumor-stromal interactions. Lastly, inhibiting YAP expression prevents tumor growth and suppresses desmoplastic reaction in vivo.<h4>Conclusions</h4>These results demonstrate that YAP contributes to the proliferation and invasion of PC and the activation of PSC via tumor-stromal interactions and that targeting YAP may be a promising therapeutic strategy for PDAC treatment.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Pancreatic cancer is one of the most aggressive human tumors due to its high potential of local invasion and metastasis. The aim of this study was to characterize the membrane proteomes of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) cells of primary and metastatic origins, and to identify potential target proteins related to metastasis of pancreatic cancer. METHODS: Membrane/membrane-associated proteins were isolated from AsPC-1 and BxPC-3 cells and identified with a proteomic approach based on SDS-PAGE, in-gel tryptic digestion and liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). X! Tandem was used for database searching against the SwissProt human protein database. RESULTS: We identified 221 & 208 proteins from AsPC-1 and BxPC-3 cells, respectively, most of which are membrane or membrane-associated proteins. A hundred and nine proteins were found in both cell lines while the others were present in either AsPC-1 or BxPC-3 cells. Differentially expressed proteins between two cell lines include modulators of cell adhesion, cell motility or tumor invasion as well as metabolic enzymes involved in glycolysis, tricarboxylic acid cycle, or nucleotide/lipid metabolism. CONCLUSION: Membrane proteomes of AsPC-1 (metastatic) and BxPC-3 (primary) cells are remarkably different. The differentially expressed membrane proteins may serve as potential targets for diagnostic and therapeutic interventions.
Project description:Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is a dynamic tumor supported by several stromal elements such as pancreatic stellate cells (PSC). Significant crosstalk exists between PSCs and tumor cells to stimulate oncogenic signaling and malignant progression of PDAC. However, how PSCs activate intercellular signaling in PDAC cells remains to be elucidated. We have previously shown that activated signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) signaling is a key component in the progression of pancreatic neoplasia. We hypothesize that PSC secreted IL-6 activates STAT3 signaling to promote PanIN progression to PDAC. Human PDAC and mouse PanIN cells were treated with PSC-conditioned media (PSC-CM), and phospho- and total-STAT3 levels by immunoblot analysis were determined. IL-6 was quantified in PSC-CM and cell invasion and colony formation assays were performed in the presence or absence of a neutralizing IL-6 antibody and the JAK/STAT3 inhibitor AZD1480. Serum from Ptf1aCre/+;LSL-KrasG12D/+;Tgfbr2flox/flox (PKT) and LSL-KrasG12D/+; Trp53R172H/+; Pdx1Cre/+ (KPC) mice demonstrated increased levels of IL-6 compared to serum from non-PDAC bearing KC and PK mice. PSC secreted IL-6 activated STAT3 signaling in noninvasive, precursor PanIN cells as well as PDAC cells, resulting in enhanced cell invasion and colony formation in both cell types. There was a significant positive linear correlation between IL-6 concentration and the ratio of phosphorylated STAT3/total STAT3. IL-6 neutralization or STAT3 inhibition attenuated PSC-CM induced activation of STAT3 signaling and tumorigenicity. These data provide evidence that PSCs are directly involved in promoting the progression of PanINs towards invasive carcinoma. This study demonstrates a novel role of PSC secreted IL-6 in transitioning noninvasive pancreatic precursor cells into invasive PDAC through the activation of STAT3 signaling.
Project description:Growth and differentiation factor 15 (GDF-15) has been studied as an important hallmark of cancer. However, the receptor of GDF-15 in pancreatic cancer cell remains unclear. Here, we investigated its biological effects in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). We found that aberrant GDF-15 expression positively correlated with poor survival of PDAC patients. GDF-15 protein enhanced tumor cell proliferation in two pancreatic cancer lines, AsPC-1 and BxPC-3. Knockdown GDF-15 attenuated its biological function <i>in vitro</i> and reduced PDAC cell tumorigenesis upon xenotransplantation into nude mice. Moreover, we identified that glial-derived neurotropic factor family receptor ?-like (GFRAL) was upregulated in PDAC tissues and positively correlated with GDF-15 expression. High GFRAL expression was significantly associated with poor survival in PDAC patients. Furthermore, we identified that the biological effects of GDF-15 are mediated by its receptor GFRAL which is present in PDAC cells. After overexpression GFRAL in pancreatic cancer cells, the effect of GDF-15 was significantly enhanced. Overall, our findings demonstrated that the GDF-15 secreted by PDAC cells, binds to GFRAL, itself localized in PDAC cells, to promote cancer cell growth and metastasis through the GDF-15/GFRAL signaling pathway.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is presently one of the cancers with the worst survival rates and least effective treatments. Moreover, total deaths due to PDAC are predicted to increase in the next 15 years. Therefore, novel insights into basic mechanism of PDAC development and therapies are needed. PDAC is characterized by a complex microenvironment, in which cancer and stromal cells release different molecules, such as ATP. ATP can be transported and/or exocytosed from active cancer cells and released from dying cells in the necrotic core of the cancer. We hypothesized that one of the ATP receptors, the P2X7 receptor (P2X7R) could be an important player in PDAC behaviour. METHODS:We determined the expression (real time PCR and Western blot) and localization (immunofluorescence) of P2X7R in human PDAC cell lines (AsPC-1, BxPC-3, Capan-1, MiaPaCa-2, Panc-1) and a "normal" human pancreatic duct epithelial cell line (HPDE). The function of P2X7R in proliferation (BrdU assay), migration (wound assay) and invasion (Boyden chamber with matrigel) was characterized. Furthermore, we studied P2X7R-dependent pore formation (YoPro-1 assay) and cell death (caspase and annexin V / propidium iodide assays). RESULTS:We found higher expression of P2X7R protein in PDAC compared to HPDE cells. P2X7R had notable disparate effects on PDAC survival. Firstly, high concentrations of ATP or the specific P2X7R agonist, BzATP, had cytotoxic effects in all cell lines, and cell death was mediated by necrosis. Moreover, the P2X7R-pore antagonist, A438079, prevented ATP-induced pore formation and cell death. Second, in basal conditions and with low concentrations of ATP/BzATP, the P2X7R allosteric inhibitor AZ10606120 reduced proliferation in all PDAC cell lines. P2X7R also affected other key characteristics of cancer cell behavior. AZ10606120 reduced cell migration and invasion in PDAC cell lines compared to that of untreated/vehicle-treated control cells, and stimulation with sub-millimolar concentrations of ATP or BzATP substantially increased cell invasion. CONCLUSIONS:PDAC cell lines overexpress P2X7R and the receptor plays crucial roles in cell survival, migration and invasion. Therefore, we propose that drugs targeting P2X7R could be exploited in therapy of pancreatic cancer.
Project description:Despite tremendous efforts, the clinical prognosis of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) remains disappointing. There is an urgent need to develop more effective treatment strategies to improve the prognosis of patients with PDAC. In this study, we evaluate the anti-PDAC effects of LY-1816, a new multikinase inhibitor developed by us. In in vitro assays, LY-1816 showed significant inhibitory effects on the proliferation, migration, and invasion of human PDAC cells, and induced PDAC cell apoptosis. Western blot analysis revealed that LY-1816 markedly suppressed the Src signaling, and downregulated the expression of FOSL1; FOSL1 is an oncogene vulnerability in KRAS-driven pancreatic cancer. In in vivo models of PDAC xenografts (Aspc-1 and Bxpc-3), LY-1816 showed more potent antitumor activity than dasatinib and gemcitabine. Moreover, mice treated with LY-1816 showed a much more significant survival advantage in a metastatic model of PDAC compared with those treated with vehicle, dasatinib, or gemcitabine. These results provide effective support for the subsequent clinical evaluation of LY-1816 in the treatment of PDAC.
Project description:Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is one of the most lethal forms of cancer with poor prognosis because it is highly resistant to traditional chemotherapy and radiotherapy and it has a low rate of surgical resection eligibility. Pancreatic stellate cells (PSC) have become a research hotspot in recent years, and play a vital role in PDAC microenvironment by secreting soluble factors such as transforming growth factor ?, interleukin-6, stromal cell-derived factor-1, hepatocyte growth factor and galectin-1. These PSC-derived cytokines and proteins contribute to PSC activation, participating in PDAC cell proliferation, migration, fibrosis, angiogenesis, immunosuppression, epithelial-mesenchymal transition, and chemoradiation resistance, leading to malignant outcome. Consequently, targeting these cytokines and proteins or their downstream signaling pathways is promising for treating PDAC.
Project description:MORF4-related gene-binding protein (MRGBP), which is also known as chromosome 20 open reading frame 20 (C20orf20), is commonly highly expressed in several types of malignant tumors and tumor progression. However, the expression pattern and underlying mechanism of MRGBP in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) remain unknown. In the study, we found that MRGBP was frequently upregulated in PDAC tissues and cell lines. In addition, the upregulation of MRGBP was positively associated with TNM stage, T classification, and poor prognosis. Knockdown of MRGBP in the PDAC cell lines ASPC-1 and Mia PaCa-2 by transiently transfected with small interfering RNA (siRNA) drastically attenuated the proliferation, migration, and invasion of those cells, whereas ectopic MRGBP overexpression in BxPC-3 cells produced exactly the opposite effect. Furthermore, we also found that overexpression of MRGBP remarkably led to cell morphological changes and induced an increased expression of mesenchymal marker Vimentin, whereas a decreased expression of epithelial marker E-cadherin. Taken together, this study indicates that MRGBP acts as a tumor oncogene in PDAC and is a promising target of carcinogenesis.
Project description:Zinc levels have been correlated with cancer risk, although the role of zinc and zinc transporters in cancer progression is largely unknown. We recently found that a zinc transporter, ZIP4, is overexpressed in pancreatic cancer. In this study, we further deciphered the role that ZIP4 plays in a pancreatic cancer mouse model by silencing ZIP4.ZIP4 stable silencing was established in pancreatic cancer cell lines ASPC-1 (ASPC-shZIP4) and BxPC-3 (BxPC-shZIP4) by short hairpin RNA using retrovirus vectors. The stable cells were characterized in vitro and in vivo using a nude mouse xenograft model.Silencing of ZIP4 was associated with decreased cell proliferation, migration, and invasion. Both ASPC-shZIP4 and BxPC-shZIP4 cells showed a significant reduction in tumor volume and weight in the s.c. model, and decreased primary tumor weight in the orthotopic model compared with the vector control cells (ASPC-shV and BxPC-shV). Silencing of ZIP4 also caused reduced incidence of tumor metastasis in the mice and downsized the tumor grade. More importantly, silencing of ZIP4 significantly increased the survival rate of nude mice with orthotopic xenografts (P = 0.005). All ASPC-shZIP4-injected mice (100%) remained alive up to 32 days after tumor implantation, whereas only 30% of the ASPC-shV mice were alive at the same time point. CyclinD1 expression was decreased in the ASPC-shZIP4 xenografts.These results identify a previously uncharacterized role of ZIP4 in pancreatic cancer progression, and indicate that knocking down ZIP4 by short hairpin RNA might be a novel treatment strategy for pancreatic cancers with ZIP4 overexpression.