SUMOylation modulates FOXK2-mediated paclitaxel sensitivity in breast cancer cells.
ABSTRACT: The forkhead transcription factor FOXK2 plays a critical role in suppressing tumorigenesis and mediating cytotoxic drug action in breast cancer. However, the mechanism by which the biological function of FOXK2 is regulated remains poorly understood. Here, we investigated the role of SUMOylation in modulating FOXK2-mediated drug sensitivity. We identified SUMOylation consensus motifs within the FOXK2 sequence and constructed two SUMOylation-defective double mutants by converting lysine 527 and 633 to arginines and glutamic acid 529 and 635 to alanines, respectively. We found that both the FOXK2 SUMOylation-deficient (K527/633?R) and (E529/635?A) mutants were ineffective in mediating the cytotoxic function of paclitaxel when compared to the wild-type (WT) FOXK2. When overexpressed, unlike the wild-type (WT) FOXK2, the K527/633?R mutant had little effect on the sensitivity of MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cells to paclitaxel, as examined by cell viability and clonogenic assays. Our results also showed that MCF-7 cells overexpressing the K527/633?R mutant form of FOXK2 or the empty expression vector have lower protein and mRNA levels of its tumour suppressive transcriptional target FOXO3 compared to the wild-type FOXK2. Consistently, ChIP assays revealed that unlike wild-type FOXK2, the SUMOylation-defective (K527/633?R) mutant is unable to bind to the FOXO3 promoter, despite expressing comparable levels of protein and having the same subcellular localization as the wild-type FOXK2 in MCF-7 cells. Interestingly, expression of neither the wild-type nor the K527/633?R mutant FOXK2 had any effect on the proliferation and paclitaxel sensitivity of the MCF-7 TaxR paclitaxel-resistant cells. In agreement, both the wild-type and the (K527/633?R) mutant FOXK2 failed to bind to the endogenous FOXO3 promoter in these cells. Collectively, our results suggest that SUMOylation positively regulates FOXK2 transcriptional activity and has a role in mediating the cytotoxic response to paclitaxel through the tumour suppressor FOXO3.
Project description:The forkhead transcription factor FOXK2 has recently been implicated in cancer cell proliferation and survival, but a role in cancer chemotherapeutic drug resistance has hitherto not been explored. Here we demonstrate that FOXK2 has a central role in mediating the cytotoxic drug response in breast cancer. Clonogenic and cell viability assays showed that enhanced FOXK2 expression sensitizes MCF-7 breast cancer cells to paclitaxel or epirubicin treatment, whereas FOXK2 depletion by small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) confers drug resistance. Our data also showed that the activation of the tumour suppressor FOXO3a by paclitaxel and epirubicin is mediated through the induction of FOXK2, as depletion of FOXK2 by siRNA limits the induction of FOXO3a by these drugs in MCF-7 cells. Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) analysis showed that in response to drug treatment, FOXK2 accumulates and binds to the proximal FOXO3a promoter region in MCF-7 cells. Furthermore, we also uncovered that FOXK2 is deregulated and, therefore, can express at high levels in the nucleus of both the paclitaxel and epirubicin drug-resistant MCF-7 cells. Our results showed that ectopically overexpressed FOXK2 accumulates in the nuclei of drug-resistant MCF-7 cells but failed to be recruited to target genes, including FOXO3a. Crucially, we found that FOXO3a is required for the anti-proliferative and epirubicin-induced cytotoxic function of FOXK2 in MCF-7 cells by sulphorhodamine and clonogenic assays. The physiological importance of the regulation of FOXO3a by FOXK2 is further confirmed by the significant correlations between FOXO3a and FOXK2 expression in breast carcinoma patient samples. Further survival analysis also reveals that high nuclear FOXK2 expression significantly associates with poorer clinical outcome, particularly in patients who have received conventional chemotherapy, consistent with our finding that FOXK2 is deregulated in drug-resistant cells. In summary, our results suggest that paclitaxel and epirubicin target the FOXK2 to modulate their cytotoxicity and deregulated FOXK2 confers drug resistance.
Project description:Pharmaceutical inhibitors of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-stress modulator PERK (eIF2AK3) have demonstrated anticancer activities in combination therapies, but their effectiveness as a single agent is limited, suggesting the existence of possible compensatory cellular responses. To explore the potential mechanisms involved, we performed time-course drug treatment experiments on the parental MCF-7 and drug resistant MCF-7EpiR and MCF-7TaxR breast cancer cells and identified GCN2 (eIF2AK4) as a molecule that can potentially cooperate with PERK to regulate FOXO3 via JNK and AKT to modulate drug response. Consistently, GCN2 knockdown severely impaired the clonal survival of parental and resistant MCF-7 cells and sensitised them to epirubicin and paclitaxel treatment. Western blot, RT-qPCR and ChIP analyses also confirmed that GCN2 inactivation causes an induction of JNK and thereby FOXO3 activity, culminating in an increase in PERK activity and expression at the transcription level. Conversely, PERK-inactivation using GSK2606414-induces an induction in GCN2 expression and activity also associated with JNK. In agreement, we also showed that the perk-/- MEFs, expressing elevated levels of P-JNK, JNK, GCN2 and reduced levels of P-AKT and P-FOXO3, have lower clonogenicity and are more sensitive to epirubicin compared to wild-type MEFs. Similarly, gcn2-/- MEFs expressing augmented levels of P-JNK, JNK, P-PERK, PERK and lower levels of P-AKT and P-FOXO3 also had lower clonogenicity and were more sensitive to epirubicin and PERK-inhibition. In addition, JNK1/2 deletion in MEFs resulted in reduced levels of GCN2, FOXO3, PERK, P-PERK expression as well as FOXO3 activity and enhanced clonal survival and resistance to PERK-inhibition. Together these results demonstrate that GCN2 cooperates with PERK through the JNK-FOXO3 axis in a reciprocal negative feedback loop to mediate cancer chemotherapeutic drug response and clonal survival, advocating the potential of targeting GCN2 as a therapeutic strategy for treating cancer and for overcoming drug resistance.
Project description:Transcription factors belonging to the same transcription factor families contain very similar DNA binding domains and hence have the potential to bind to related DNA sequences. However, subtle differences in binding specificities can be detected in vitro with the potential to direct specific responses in vivo. Here, we have examined the binding properties of three Forkhead (FOX) transcription factors, FOXK2, FOXO3 and FOXJ3 in vivo. Extensive overlap in chromatin binding is observed, although underlying differential DNA binding specificity can dictate the recruitment of FOXK2 and FOXJ3 to chromatin. However, functionally, FOXO3-dependent gene regulation is generally mediated not through uniquely bound regions but through regions occupied by both FOXK2 and FOXO3 where both factors play a regulatory role. Our data point to a model whereby FOX transcription factors control gene expression through dynamically binding and generating partial occupancy of the same site rather than mutually exclusive binding derived by stable binding of individual FOX proteins.
Project description:The forkhead box transcription factor FOXM1 is an essential effector of G2/M-phase transition, mitosis and the DNA damage response. As such, it is frequently deregulated during tumorigenesis. Here we report that FOXM1 is dynamically modified by SUMO1 but not by SUMO2/3 at multiple sites. We show that FOXM1 SUMOylation is enhanced in MCF-7 breast cancer cells in response to treatment with epirubicin and mitotic inhibitors. Mutation of five consensus conjugation motifs yielded a SUMOylation-deficient mutant FOXM1. Conversely, fusion of the E2 ligase Ubc9 to FOXM1 generated an auto-SUMOylating mutant (FOXM1-Ubc9). Analysis of wild-type FOXM1 and mutants revealed that SUMOylation inhibits FOXM1 activity, promotes translocation to the cytoplasm and enhances APC/Cdh1-mediated ubiquitination and degradation. Further, expression of the SUMOylation-deficient mutant enhanced cell proliferation compared with wild-type FOXM1, whereas the FOXM1-Ubc9 fusion protein resulted in persistent cyclin B1 expression and slowed the time from mitotic entry to exit. In summary, our findings suggest that SUMOylation attenuates FOXM1 activity and causes mitotic delay in cytotoxic drug response.
Project description:G-protein pathway suppressor 2 (GPS2) is a human suppressor of G protein-activated mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling. It is involved in many physiological processes, including DNA repair, cell proliferation, apoptosis, and brain development. In this study, we show that GPS2 can be modified by the small ubiquitin-like modifier (SUMO) SUMO-1 but not SUMO-2 or -3. Two SUMOylation sites (K45 and K71) are identified in the N-terminal coiled-coil domain of GPS2. Substitution of K45 with arginine reduces SUMOylation, whereas substitution of K71 or both K45 and K71 with arginine abolishes SUMOylation, with more of the double mutant GPS2 appearing in the cytosol than in the nucleus compared with wild type and the two-single-mutant GPS2. SUMOylation stabilizes GPS2 protein by promoting its interaction with TBL1 and reducing its ubiquitination. SUMOylation also enhances the ability of GPS2 to suppress transcription and promotes its ability to inhibit estrogen receptor α-mediated transcription by increasing its association with SMRT, as demonstrated in MCF-7 and T47D cells. Moreover, SUMOylation of GPS2 also represses the proliferation of MCF-7 and T47D cells. These findings suggest that posttranslational modification of GPS2 by SUMOylation may serve as a key factor that regulates the function of GPS2 in vivo.
Project description:The major impediment to effective cancer therapy has been the development of drug resistance. The tumour suppressive transcription factor FOXO3 promotes cell cycle arrest, senescence and cell death, and mediates the cytotoxic and cytostatic functions of cancer therapeutics. In consequence, FOXO3 is often downregulated as an adaptive response in cancer and particularly in chemotherapeutic drug-resistant cells. Consistently, we find that FOXO3 expression is attenuated in the drug-resistant MCF-7-EpiR and MCF-7-TaxR compared to the parental MCF-7 breast cancer cells. Using ChIP, short-interfering RNA (siRNA) knockdown, and overexpression assays as well as Foxo1/3/4-/- MEFs, we establish the endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-stress defence modulator PERK (eIF2AK3) as a direct downstream transcriptional target of FOXO3. In agreement, there is also a positive correlation between FOXO3 and PERK expression at the protein and RNA levels in breast cancer patient samples. We uncover that PERK expression is downregulated but its activity constitutively elevated in the drug-resistant cells. With this in mind, we exploit this adaptive response of low FOXO3 and PERK expression, and high PERK activity in drug-resistant breast cancer cells and show that these drug-resistant cells are specifically sensitive to PERK inhibition. In support of this finding, we show that ectopic overexpression of FOXO3 can reduce the sensitivity of the resistant cells to the PERK inhibitor GSK2606414, while the Foxo1/3/4-/- MEFs expressing lower levels of PERK are more sensitive to PERK inhibition compared to wild-type MEFs. PERK inhibitor-titration and -time course experiments showed that the drug-resistant cells, which express lower expression and higher activity levels of PERK, are more sensitive to the increasing concentrations of PERK inhibitor compared to parental MCF-7 cells. Our present work thus reveals a chemotherapeutic drug-resistant cancer cell vulnerability in PERK and suggests PERK as a potential target for cancer therapy, specifically in the context of drug-resistant cancers.
Project description:Estrogen receptors (ERs) are critical regulators of breast cancer development. Identification of molecules that regulate the function of ERs may facilitate the development of more effective breast cancer treatment strategies. In this study, we showed that the forkhead transcription factor FOXK2 interacted with ER?, and inhibited ER?-regulated transcriptional activities by enhancing the ubiquitin-mediated degradation of ER?. This process involved the interaction between FOXK2 and BRCA1/BARD1, the E3 ubiquitin ligase of ER?. FOXK2 interacted with BARD1 and acted as a scaffold protein for BRCA1/BARD1 and ER?, leading to enhanced degradation of ER?, which eventually accounted for its decreased transcriptional activity. Consistent with these observations, overexpression of FOXK2 inhibited the transcriptional activity of ER?, decreased the transcription of ER? target genes, and suppressed the proliferation of ER?-positive breast cancer cells. In contract, knockdown of FOXK2 in MCF-7 cells promoted cell proliferation. However, when ER? was also knocked down, knockdown of FOXK2 had no effect on cell proliferation. These findings suggested that FOXK2 might act as a negative regulator of ER?, and its association with both ER? and BRCA1/BARD1 could lead to the down-regulation of ER? transcriptional activity, effectively regulating the function of ER?.
Project description:Endothelial nitric-oxide synthase (eNOS) plays a central role in cardiovascular regulation. eNOS function is critically modulated by Ca(2+) and protein phosphorylation, but the interrelationship between intracellular Ca(2+) mobilization and eNOS phosphorylation is poorly understood. Here we show that endoplasmic reticulum (ER) Ca(2+) release activates eNOS by selectively promoting its Ser-635/633 (bovine/human) phosphorylation. With bovine endothelial cells, thapsigargin-induced ER Ca(2+) release caused a dose-dependent increase in eNOS Ser-635 phosphorylation, leading to elevated NO production. ER Ca(2+) release also promoted eNOS Ser-633 phosphorylation in mouse vessels in vivo. This effect was independent of extracellular Ca(2+) and selective to Ser-635 because the phosphorylation status of other eNOS sites, including Ser-1179 or Thr-497, was unaffected in thapsigargin-treated cells. Blocking ERK1/2 abolished ER Ca(2+) release-induced eNOS Ser-635 phosphorylation, whereas inhibiting protein kinase A or Ca(2+)/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II had no effect. Protein phosphorylation assay confirmed that ERK1/2 directly phosphorylated the eNOS Ser-635 residue in vitro. Further studies demonstrated that ER Ca(2+) release-induced ERK1/2 activation mediated the enhancing action of purine or bradykinin receptor stimulation on eNOS Ser-635/633 phosphorylation in bovine/human endothelial cells. Mutating the Ser-635 to nonphosphorylatable alanine prevented ATP from activating eNOS in cells. Taken together, these studies reveal that ER Ca(2+) release enhances eNOS Ser-635 phosphorylation and function via ERK1/2 activation. Because ER Ca(2+) is commonly mobilized by agonists or physicochemical stimuli, the identified ER Ca(2+)-ERK1/2-eNOS Ser-635 phosphorylation pathway may have a broad role in the regulation of endothelial function.
Project description:BACKGROUND: STAT1 is an essential transcription factor for interferon-γ-mediated gene responses. A distinct sumoylation consensus site (ψKxE) 702IKTE705 is localized in the C-terminal region of STAT1, where Lys703 is a target for PIAS-induced SUMO modification. Several studies indicate that sumoylation has an inhibitory role on STAT1-mediated gene expression but the molecular mechanisms are not fully understood. RESULTS: Here, we have performed a structural and functional analysis of sumoylation in STAT1. We show that deconjugation of SUMO by SENP1 enhances the transcriptional activity of STAT1, confirming a negative regulatory effect of sumoylation on STAT1 activity. Inspection of molecular model indicated that consensus site is well exposed to SUMO-conjugation in STAT1 homodimer and that the conjugated SUMO moiety is directed towards DNA, thus able to form a sterical hindrance affecting promoter binding of dimeric STAT1. In addition, oligoprecipitation experiments indicated that sumoylation deficient STAT1 E705Q mutant has higher DNA-binding activity on STAT1 responsive gene promoters than wild-type STAT1. Furthermore, sumoylation deficient STAT1 E705Q mutant displayed enhanced histone H4 acetylation on interferon-γ-responsive promoter compared to wild-type STAT1. CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that sumoylation participates in regulation of STAT1 responses by modulating DNA-binding properties of STAT1.
Project description:Paclitaxel, an anti-microtubule agent, is an effective chemotherapeutic drug in breast cancer. Nonetheless, resistance to paclitaxel remains a major clinical challenge. The need to better understand the resistant phenotype and to find biomarkers that could predict tumor response to paclitaxel is evident. In estrogen receptor α-positive (ER(+)) breast cancer cells, phosphorylation of caveolin-1 (CAV1) on Tyr-14 facilitates mitochondrial apoptosis by increasing BCL2 phosphorylation in response to low dose paclitaxel (10 nM). However, two variants of CAV1 exist: the full-length form, CAV1α (wild-type CAV1 or wtCAV1), and a truncated form, CAV1β. Only wtCAV1 has the Tyr-14 region at the N terminus. The precise cellular functions of CAV1 variants are unknown. We now show that CAV1 variants play distinct roles in paclitaxel-mediated cell death/survival. CAV1β expression is increased in paclitaxel-resistant cells when compared with sensitive cells. Expression of CAV1β in sensitive cells significantly reduces their responsiveness to paclitaxel. These activities reflect an essential role for Tyr-14 phosphorylation because wtCAV1 expression, but not a phosphorylation-deficient mutant (Y14F), inactivates BCL2 and BCLxL through activation of c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK). MCF-7 cells that express Y14F are resistant to paclitaxel and are resensitized by co-treatment with ABT-737, a BH3-mimetic small molecule inhibitor. Using structural homology modeling, we propose that phosphorylation on Tyr-14 enables a favorable conformation for proteins to bind to the CAV1 scaffolding domain. Thus, we highlight novel roles for CAV1 variants in cell death; wtCAV1 promotes cell death, whereas CAV1β promotes cell survival by preventing inactivation of BCL2 and BCLxL via JNK in paclitaxel-mediated apoptosis.