The inhibition of UBC13 expression and blockage of the DNMT1-CHFR-Aurora A pathway contribute to paclitaxel resistance in ovarian cancer.
ABSTRACT: Paclitaxel is widely used as a first-line chemotherapeutic drug for patients with ovarian cancer and other solid cancers, but drug resistance occurs frequently, resulting in ovarian cancer still presenting as the highest lethality among all gynecological tumors. Here, using DIGE quantitative proteomics, we identified UBC13 as down-regulated in paclitaxel-resistant ovarian cancer cells, and it was further revealed by immunohistochemical staining that UBC13 low-expression was associated with poorer prognosis and shorter survival of the patients. Through gene function experiments, we found that paclitaxel exposure induced UBC13 down-regulation, and the enforced change in UBC13 expression altered the sensitivity to paclitaxel. Meanwhile, the reduction of UBC13 increased DNMT1 levels by attenuating its ubiquitination, and the up-regulated DNMT1 enhanced the CHFR promoter DNA methylation levels, leading to a reduction of CHFR expression, and an increased in the levels of Aurora A. Our findings revealed a novel function for UBC13 in regulating paclitaxel sensitivity through a DNMT1-CHFR-Aurora A pathway in ovarian cancer cells. UBC13 could potentially be employed as a therapeutic molecular drug for reversing paclitaxel resistance in ovarian cancer patients.
Project description:The poly(ADP-ribose) binding protein CHFR regulates cellular responses to mitotic stress. The deubiquitinase UBC13, which regulates CHFR levels, has been associated with better overall survival in paclitaxel-treated ovarian cancer. Despite the extensive use of taxanes in the treatment of ovarian cancer, little is known about expression of CHFR itself in this disease. In the present study, tissue microarrays containing ovarian carcinoma samples from 417 women who underwent initial surgical debulking were stained with anti-CHFR antibody and scored in a blinded fashion. CHFR levels, expressed as a modified H-score, were examined for association with histology, grade, time to progression (TTP) and overall survival (OS). In addition, patient-derived xenografts from 69 ovarian carcinoma patients were examined for CHFR expression and sensitivity to paclitaxel monotherapy. In clinical ovarian cancer specimens, CHFR expression was positively associated with serous histology (<i>p</i> = 0.0048), higher grade (<i>p</i> = 0.000014) and higher stage (<i>p</i> = 0.016). After correction for stage and debulking, there was no significant association between CHFR staining and overall survival (<i>p</i> = 0.62) or time to progression (<i>p</i> = 0.91) in patients with high grade serous cancers treated with platinum/taxane chemotherapy (N = 249). Likewise, no association between CHFR expression and paclitaxel sensitivity was observed in ovarian cancer PDXs treated with paclitaxel monotherapy. Accordingly, differences in CHFR expression are unlikely to play a major role in paclitaxel sensitivity of high grade serous ovarian cancer.
Project description:Checkpoint with forkhead-associated and RING (Chfr) is a ubiquitin ligase (E3) that establishes an antephase or prometaphase checkpoint in response to mitotic stress. Though ubiquitination is essential for checkpoint function, the sites, linkages and ubiquitin conjugating enzyme (E2) specificity are controversial. Here we dissect the function of the two Chfr homologs in S. cerevisiae, Chf1 and Chf2, overexpression of which retard cell cycle at both G(1) and G(2). Using a genetic assay, we establish that Ubc4 is required for Chf2-dependent G(1) cell cycle delay and Chf protein turnover. In contrast, Ubc13/Mms2 is required for G(2) delay and does not contribute to Chf protein turnover. By reconstituting cis and trans-ubiquitination activities of Chf proteins in purified systems and characterizing sites modified and linkages formed by tandem mass spectrometry, we discovered that Ubc13/Mms2- dependent modifications are a distinct subset of those catalyzed by Ubc4. Mutagenesis of Lys residues identified in vitro indicates that site-specific Ubc4-dependent Chf protein autoubiquitination is responsible for Chf protein turnover. Thus, combined genetic and biochemical analyses indicate that Chf proteins have dual E2 specificity accounting for different functions in the cell cycle.
Project description:CHFR is a tumor suppressor that not only recognizes poly(ADP-ribosylation) (PARylation) signals at the sites of DNA damage but also is downregulated in many types of cancer. However, the underlying mechanism linking its role in PARylation-mediated DNA damage repair and tumor suppression is unclear. Here, we examined a panel of gastric cancer cell lines as well as primary tissue samples from gastric cancer patients, and found that CHFR expression was silenced by DNA hypermethylation in gastric cancer including 38.46% of primary gastric cancers. DNMT1 was associated with aberrant methylation of CHFR, and the expression of CHFR was restored by DNMT1 inhibitor 5-aza-2-deoxycytidine (5-aza-CdR) treatment. Moreover, we found that loss of CHFR abolished DNA damage repair and sensitized gastric tumor cells to PARP inhibitor treatment. Thus, our study reveals a potential therapeutic approach for treating gastric cancer with PARP inhibitor and lacking CHFR can serve as a biomarker for predicting the efficacy of PARP inhibitor on the gastric tumor treatment in future.
Project description:Cell-cycle checkpoints controlling the orderly progression through mitosis are frequently disrupted in human cancers. One such checkpoint, entry into metaphase, is regulated by the CHFR gene encoding a protein possessing forkhead-associated and RING finger domains as well as ubiquitin-ligase activity. Although defects in this checkpoint have been described, the molecular basis and prevalence of CHFR inactivation in human tumors are still not fully understood. To address this question, we analyzed the pattern of CHFR expression in a number of human cancer cell lines and primary tumors. We found CpG methylation-dependent silencing of CHFR expression in 45% of cancer cell lines, 40% of primary colorectal cancers, 53% of colorectal adenomas, and 30% of primary head and neck cancers. Expression of CHFR was precisely correlated with both CpG methylation and deacetylation of histones H3 and H4 in the CpG-rich regulatory region. Moreover, CpG methylation and thus silencing of CHFR depended on the activities of two DNA methyltransferases, DNMT1 and DNMT3b, as their genetic inactivation restored CHFR expression. Finally, cells with CHFR methylation had an intrinsically high mitotic index when treated with microtubule inhibitor. This means that cells in which CHFR was epigenetically inactivated constitute loss-of-function alleles for mitotic checkpoint control. Taken together, these findings shed light on a pathway by which mitotic checkpoint is bypassed in cancer cells and suggest that inactivation of checkpoint genes is much more widespread than previously suspected.
Project description:Currently, there is no clinically validated test for the prediction of response to tubulin-targeting agents in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Here, we investigated the significance of nuclear expression of the mitotic checkpoint gene checkpoint with forkhead and ringfinger domains (CHFR) as predictor of response and overall survival with taxane-based first-line chemotherapy in advanced stage NSCLC.We studied a cohort of 41 patients (median age 63 years) with advanced NSCLC treated at the Atlanta VAMC between 1999 and 2010. CHFR expression by immunohistochemistry (score 0-4) was correlated with clinical outcome using chi-square test and Cox proportional models. A cutoff score of "3" was determined by receiver operator characteristics analysis for "low" CHFR expression. Results were validated in an additional 20 patients who received taxane-based chemotherapy at Emory University Hospital and the Atlanta VAMC.High expression (score = 4) of CHFR is strongly associated with adverse outcomes: the risk for progressive disease after first-line chemotherapy with carboplatin-paclitaxel was 52% in patients with CHFR-high versus only 19% in those with CHFR-low tumors (P = 0.033). Median overall survival was strongly correlated with CHFR expression status (CHFR low: 9.9 months; CHFR high: 6.2 months; P = 0.002). After multivariate adjustment, reduced CHFR expression remained a powerful predictor of improved overall survival (HR = 0.24; 95% CI, 0.1-0.58%; P = 0.002). In the validation set, low CHFR expression was associated with higher likelihood of clinical benefit (P = 0.03) and improved overall survival (P = 0.038).CHFR expression is a novel predictive marker of response and overall survival in NSCLC patients treated with taxane-containing chemotherapy.
Project description:The mitotic checkpoint gene (CHFR) (Checkpoint with Forkhead-associated and Ring finger domains is a G2 phase/mitosis checkpoint and tumor-suppressor gene. Recent studies have reported the relationship of CHFR promoter methylation with clinicopathological significance of gastric cancer. However, the results remain unclear due to small size of sample. We pooled 15 studies including 827 gastric cancer patients and conducted a meta-analysis to investigate the clinicopathological significance of CHFR promoter methylation in gastric cancer. Our data revealed that the frequency of CHFR promoter methylation was higher in gastric cancer than in normal gastric tissue, Odd Ratio (OR) was 10.12 with 95% CI 5.17-19.79, p < 0.00001. Additionally, the rate of CHFR promoter methylation was significantly increased in high grade of gastric cancer compared to low grade, OR was 1.64 with 95% CI 1.00-2.68, p = 0.05. CHFR methylation was significantly associated with the positive lymph node metastasis, OR was 1.56 with 95% CI 1.05-2.32, p = 0.03. We concluded that CHFR could serve as a biomarker for diagnosis of gastric cancer, and a drug target for development of gene therapy in gastric cancer. CHFR promoter methylation is associated with tumor poor differentiation and lymph node metastasis.
Project description:Genetic instability, which leads to an accumulation of various genetic abnormalities, has been considered an essential component of the human neoplasic transformation process. However, the molecular basis of genomic instability during tumorigenesis remains incompletely understood. Growing evidence indicates that checkpoint with forkhead and ring finger domains (CHFR), a recently identified mitotic checkpoint protein, plays an important role in maintaining chromosome integrity and functions as a tumor suppressor. In this study, we used high-throughput technology to conduct gene expression profiling of human colon cancers and found that loss of CHFR expression frequently occurred in colon cancers with high microsatellite instability (MSI-H). Downregulation of CHFR expression was closely associated with overexpression of Aurora A, an important mitotic kinase. Mice with deficiencies in both Chfr and Mlh1 (the gene that encodes the DNA mismatch-repair protein Mlh1) displayed dramatically higher incidence of spontaneous tumors relative to mice deficient for only one of these genes. These results suggest that defects in both Chfr and Mlh1 synergistically increase predisposition to tumorigenesis.
Project description:Ubc13 is an ubiquitin E2 conjugating enzyme that participates with many different E3 ligases to form lysine 63-linked (Lys63) ubiquitin chains that are critical to signaling in inflammatory and DNA damage response pathways. Recent studies have suggested Ubc13 as a potential therapeutic target for intervention in various human diseases including several different cancers, alleviation of anti-cancer drug resistance, chronic inflammation, and viral infections. Understanding a potential therapeutic target from different angles is important to assess its usefulness and potential pitfalls. Here we present a global review of Ubc13 from its structure, function, and cellular activities, to its natural and chemical inhibition. The aim of this article is to review the literature that directly implicates Ubc13 in a biological function, and to integrate structural and mechanistic insights into the larger role of this critical E2 enzyme. We discuss observations of multiple Ubc13 structures that suggest a novel mechanism for activation of Ubc13 that involves conformational change of the active site loop.
Project description:A large percentage of patients with recurrent ovarian cancer develop resistance to the taxane class of chemotherapeutics. While mechanisms of resistance are being discovered, novel treatment options and a better understanding of disease resistance are sorely needed. The mitotic kinase Aurora-A directly regulates cellular processes targeted by the taxanes and is overexpressed in several malignancies, including ovarian cancer. Recent data has shown that overexpression of Aurora-A can confer resistance to the taxane paclitaxel.We used expression profiling of ovarian tumor samples to determine the most significantly overexpressed genes. In this study we sought to determine if chemical inhibition of the Aurora kinase family using VE-465 could synergize with paclitaxel to induce apoptosis in paclitaxel-resistant and sensitive ovarian cancer cells.Aurora-A kinase and TPX2, an activator of Aurora-A, are two of the most significantly overexpressed genes in ovarian carcinomas. We show that inhibition of the Aurora kinases prevents phosphorylation of a mitotic marker and demonstrate a dose-dependent increase of apoptosis in treated ovarian cancer cells. We demonstrate at low doses that are specific to Aurora-A, VE-465 synergizes with paclitaxel to induce 4.5-fold greater apoptosis than paclitaxel alone in 1A9 cells. Higher doses are needed to induce apoptosis in paclitaxel-resistant PTX10 cells.Our results show that VE-465 is a potent killer of taxane resistant ovarian cancer cells and can synergize with paclitaxel at low doses. These data suggest patients whose tumors exhibit high Aurora-A expression may benefit from a combination therapy of taxanes and Aurora-A inhibition.
Project description:While chromosomal instability is a common feature of human solid tumours, no abnormalities in genes involved in the mitotic checkpoint have been identified. However, recently, Chfr (checkpoint with forkhead associated and ring finger), a mitotic stress checkpoint gene, has been reported to be inactivated due to promoter hypermethylation in several types of human malignancy. To clarify whether Chfr promoter hypermethylation is involved in gastric carcinogenesis, we investigated the promoter methylation status of the Chfr gene in gastric cancer cell lines and primary gastric cancers. Non-neoplastic gastric epithelia from cancer-bearing and noncancer-bearing stomachs were also examined for Chfr promoter hypermethylation to study its cancer specificity. Two of 10 gastric cancer cell lines (20%) showed Chfr promoter hypermethylation with resultant loss of expression, which could be restored by 5-aza-2' deoxycytidine treatment. Chfr promoter hypermethylation was present in 35% (25 of 71) of primary tumours and occurred at similar frequencies in early and advanced stages. As for non-neoplastic gastric epithelia, 1% (one of 91) from noncancer-bearing and 5% (four of 71) from cancer-bearing stomachs exhibited Chfr promoter hypermethylation. Thus, Chfr promoter hypermethylation is mostly cancer specific and frequently leads to chromosome instability in gastric cancer.