TRAF4-mediated ubiquitination of NGF receptor TrkA regulates prostate cancer metastasis.
ABSTRACT: Receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) are important drivers of cancers. In addition to genomic alterations, aberrant activation of WT RTKs plays an important role in driving cancer progression. However, the mechanisms underlying how RTKs drive prostate cancer remain incompletely characterized. Here we show that non-proteolytic ubiquitination of RTK regulates its kinase activity and contributes to RTK-mediated prostate cancer metastasis. TRAF4, an E3 ubiquitin ligase, is highly expressed in metastatic prostate cancer. We demonstrated here that it is a key player in regulating RTK-mediated prostate cancer metastasis. We further identified TrkA, a neurotrophin RTK, as a TRAF4-targeted ubiquitination substrate that promotes cancer cell invasion and found that inhibition of TrkA activity abolished TRAF4-dependent cell invasion. TRAF4 promoted K27- and K29-linked ubiquitination at the TrkA kinase domain and increased its kinase activity. Mutation of TRAF4-targeted ubiquitination sites abolished TrkA tyrosine autophosphorylation and its interaction with downstream proteins. TRAF4 knockdown also suppressed nerve growth factor (NGF) stimulated TrkA downstream p38 MAPK activation and invasion-associated gene expression. Furthermore, elevated TRAF4 levels significantly correlated with increased NGF-stimulated invasion-associated gene expression in prostate cancer patients, indicating that this signaling axis is significantly activated during oncogenesis. Our results revealed a posttranslational modification mechanism contributing to aberrant non-mutated RTK activation in cancer cells.
Project description:Resistance to hormone therapy and disease progression is the major challenge in clinical management of prostate cancer (PC). Drugs currently used in PC therapy initially show a potent antitumor effects, but PC gradually develops resistance, relapses and spreads. Most patients who fail primary therapy and have recurrences eventually develop castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC), which is almost incurable. The nerve growth factor (NGF) acts on a variety of non-neuronal cells by activating the NGF tyrosine-kinase receptor, tropomyosin receptor kinase A (TrkA). NGF signaling is deregulated in PC. In androgen-dependent PC cells, TrkA mediates the proliferative action of NGF through its crosstalk with the androgen receptor (AR). Epithelial PC cells, however, acquire the ability to express NGF and TrkA, as the disease progresses, indicating a role for NGF/TrkA axis in PC progression and androgen-resistance. We here report that once activated by NGF, TrkA mediates proliferation, invasiveness and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in various CRPC cells. NGF promotes organoid growth in 3D models of CRPC cells, and specific inhibition of TrkA impairs all these responses. Thus TrkA represents a new biomarker to target in CRPC.
Project description:In responses to activation of receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs), crucial cell fate decisions depend on the duration and dynamics of ERK signaling. In PC12 cells, epidermal growth factor (EGF) induces transient ERK activation that leads to cell proliferation, whereas nerve growth factor (NGF) promotes sustained ERK activation and cell differentiation. These differences have typically been assumed to reflect distinct feedback mechanisms in the Raf-MEK-ERK signaling network, with the receptors themselves acting as simple upstream inputs. We failed to confirm the expected differences in feedback type when investigating transient versus sustained signaling downstream of the EGF receptor (EGFR) and NGF receptor (TrkA). Instead, we found that ERK signaling faithfully followed RTK dynamics when receptor signaling was modulated in different ways. EGFR activation kinetics, and consequently ERK signaling dynamics, were switched from transient to sustained when receptor internalization was inhibited with drugs or mutations, or when cells expressed a chimeric receptor likely to have impaired dimerization. In addition, EGFR and ERK signaling both became more sustained when substoichiometric levels of erlotinib were added to reduce duration of EGFR kinase activation. Our results argue that RTK activation kinetics play a crucial role in determining MAP kinase cascade signaling dynamics and cell fate decisions, and that signaling outcome can be modified by activating a given RTK in different ways.
Project description:There is accumulating evidence that TrkA and its ligand Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) are involved in cancer development. Staurosporine derivatives such as K252a and lestaurtinib have been developed to block TrkA kinase signaling, but no clinical trial has fully demonstrated their therapeutic efficacy. Therapeutic failures are likely due to the existence of intrinsic signaling pathways in cancer cells that impede or bypass the effects of TrkA tyrosine kinase inhibitors. To verify this hypothesis, we combined different approaches including mass spectrometry proteomics, co-immunoprecipitation and proximity ligation assays. We found that NGF treatment induced CD44 binding to TrkA at the plasma membrane and subsequent activation of the p115RhoGEF/RhoA/ROCK1 pathway to stimulate breast cancer cell invasion. The NGF-induced CD44 signaling was independent of TrkA kinase activity. Moreover, both TrkA tyrosine kinase inhibition with lestaurtinib and CD44 silencing with siRNA inhibited cell growth in vitro as well as tumor development in mouse xenograft model; combined treatment significantly enhanced the antineoplastic effects of either treatment alone. Altogether, our results demonstrate that NGF-induced tyrosine kinase independent TrkA signaling through CD44 was sufficient to maintain tumor aggressiveness. Our findings provide an alternative mechanism of cancer resistance to lestaurtinib and indicate that dual inhibition of CD44 and TrkA tyrosine kinase activity may represent a novel therapeutic strategy.
Project description:Optical control over the activity of receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) provides an efficient way to reversibly and non-invasively map their functions. We combined catalytic domains of Trk (tropomyosin receptor kinase) family of RTKs, naturally activated by neurotrophins, with photosensory core module of DrBphP bacterial phytochrome to develop opto-kinases, termed Dr-TrkA and Dr-TrkB, reversibly switchable on and off with near-infrared and far-red light. We validated Dr-Trk ability to reversibly light-control several RTK pathways, calcium level, and demonstrated that their activation triggers canonical Trk signaling. Dr-TrkA induced apoptosis in neuroblastoma and glioblastoma, but not in other cell types. Absence of spectral crosstalk between Dr-Trks and blue-light-activatable LOV-domain-based translocation system enabled intracellular targeting of Dr-TrkA independently of its activation, additionally modulating Trk signaling. Dr-Trks have several superior characteristics that make them the opto-kinases of choice for regulation of RTK signaling: high activation range, fast and reversible photoswitching, and multiplexing with visible-light-controllable optogenetic tools.
Project description:Excessive activation of G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) and receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) pathways has been linked to prostate cancer metastasis. Rac activation by guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs) plays an important role in directional cell migration, a critical step of tumor metastasis cascades. We found that the upregulation of P-Rex1, a Rac-selective GEF synergistically activated by Gbetagamma freed during GPCR signaling, and PIP3, generated during either RTK or GPCR signaling, strongly correlates with metastatic phenotypes in both prostate cancer cell lines and human prostate cancer specimens. Silencing endogenous P-Rex1 in metastatic prostate cancer PC-3 cells selectively inhibited Rac activity and reduced cell migration and invasion in response to ligands of both epidermal growth factor receptor and G-protein-coupled CXC chemokine receptor 4. Conversely, expression of recombinant P-Rex1, but not its 'GEF-dead' mutant, in non-metastatic prostate cancer cells, such as CWR22Rv1, increased cell migration and invasion through Rac-dependent lamellipodia formation. More importantly, using a mouse xenograft model, we showed that the expression of P-Rex1, but not its mutant, induced lymph node metastasis of CWR22Rv1 cells without an effect on primary tumor growth. Thus, by functioning as a coincidence detector of chemotactic signals from both GPCRs and RTKs, P-Rex1-dependent activation of Rac promotes prostate cancer metastasis.
Project description:Perineural invasion (PNI) is thought to be one of the factors responsible for the high rate of tumor recurrence after surgery and the pain generation associated with pancreatic cancer. Signaling via the nerve growth factor (NGF) pathway between pancreatic cancer cells and the surrounding nerves has been implicated in PNI, and increased levels of these proteins have been correlated to poor prognosis. In this study, we examine the molecular mechanism of the NGF signaling pathway in PNI in pancreatic cancer. We show that knocking down NGF or its receptors, TRKA and p75NTR, or treatment with GW441756, a TRKA kinase inhibitor, reduces the proliferation and migration of pancreatic cancer cells in vitro. Furthermore, pancreatic cancer cells migrate towards dorsal root ganglia (DRG) in a co-culture assay, indicating a paracrine NGF signaling between the DRGs and pancreatic cancer cells. Knocking down the expression of NGF pathway proteins or inhibiting the activity of TRKA by GW441756 reduced the migratory ability of Mia PaCa2 towards the DRGs. Finally, blocking NGF signaling by NGF neutralizing antibodies or GW441756 inhibited the neurite formation in PC-12 cells in response to conditioned media from pancreatic cancer cells, indicating a reciprocal signaling pathway between the pancreatic cancer cells and nerves. Our results indicate that NGF signaling pathway provides a potential target for developing molecularly targeted therapies to decrease PNI and reduce pain generation. Since there are several TRKA antagonists currently in early clinical trials they could now be tested in the clinical situation of pancreatic cancer induced pain.
Project description:Receptor tyrosine kinases (RTK) act through dimerization. Previously it was thought that only bivalent ligands could be agonistic, whereas monovalent ligands should be antagonistic. This notion changed after the demonstration that monovalent ligands can be agonistic, including our report of a small molecule monovalent ligand "D3" that is a partial agonist of the NGF receptor TrkA. A bivalent "D3-linker-D3" was expected to increase agonism.Dimeric analogs were synthesized and tested in binding, biochemical, and biological assays.One analog, 1-ss, binds TrkA with higher affinity than D3 and induces or stabilizes receptor dimers. However, 1-ss exhibited antagonistic activity, through two mechanisms. One mechanism is that 1-ss blocks NGF binding, unlike D3 which is non-competitive. Inhibition of NGF binding may be due to the linker of 1-ss filling the inter-receptor space that NGF traverses before docking. In a second mechanism, 1-ss acts as a pure antagonist, inhibiting NGF-independent TrkA activity in cells over-expressing receptors. Inhibition is likely due to 1-ss "freezing" the TrkA dimer in the inactive state.Dimerization of an RTK can result in antagonism, through two independent mechanisms.we report a small molecule monovalent agonist being converted to a bivalent antagonist.
Project description:Genome-wide screens were performed to identify transmembrane proteins that mediate axonal growth, guidance and target field innervation of somatosensory neurons. One gene, Linx (alias Islr2), encoding a leucine-rich repeat and immunoglobulin (LIG) family protein, is expressed in a subset of developing sensory and motor neurons. Domain and genomic structures of Linx and other LIG family members suggest that they are evolutionarily related to Trk receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs). Several LIGs, including Linx, are expressed in subsets of somatosensory and motor neurons, and select members interact with TrkA and Ret RTKs. Moreover, axonal projection defects in mice harboring a null mutation in Linx resemble those in mice lacking Ngf, TrkA, and Ret. In addition, Linx modulates NGF-TrkA- and GDNF-GFRalpha1/Ret-mediated axonal extension in cultured sensory and motor neurons, respectively. These findings show that LIGs physically interact with RTKs and modulate their activities to control axonal extension, guidance and branching.
Project description:Many tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) have failed to reach human use due to insufficient activity in clinical trials. However, the failed TKIs may still benefit patients if their other kinase targets are identified by providing treatment focused on syndromes driven by these kinases. Here, we searched for novel targets of AZD1480, an inhibitor of JAK2 kinase that recently failed phase two cancer clinical trials due to a lack of activity. Twenty seven human receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) and 153 of their disease-associated mutants were in-cell profiled for activity in the presence of AZD1480 using a newly developed RTK plasmid library. We demonstrate that AZD1480 inhibits ALK, LTK, FGFR1-3, RET and TRKA-C kinases and uncover a physical basis of this specificity. The RTK activity profiling described here facilitates inhibitor repurposing by enabling rapid and efficient identification of novel TKI targets in cells.
Project description:Early, preemptive blockade of nerve growth factor (NGF)/tropomyosin receptor kinase A (TrkA) attenuates tumor-induced nerve sprouting and bone cancer pain. A critical unanswered question is whether late blockade of NGF/TrkA can attenuate cancer pain once NGF-induced nerve sprouting and neuroma formation has occurred. By means of a mouse model of prostate cancer-induced bone pain, anti-NGF was either administered preemptively at day 14 after tumor injection when nerve sprouting had yet to occur, or late at day 35, when extensive nerve sprouting had occurred. Animals were humanely killed at day 70 when, in vehicle-treated animals, significant nerve sprouting and neuroma formation was present in the tumor-bearing bone. Although preemptive and sustained administration (days 14-70) of anti-NGF more rapidly attenuated bone cancer nociceptive behaviors than late and sustained administration (days 35-70), by day 70 after tumor injection, both preemptive and late administration of anti-NGF significantly reduced nociceptive behaviors, sensory and sympathetic nerve sprouting, and neuroma formation. In this model, as in most cancers, the individual cancer cell colonies have a limited half-life because they are constantly proliferating, metastasizing, and undergoing necrosis as the parent cancer cell colony outgrows its blood supply. Similarly, the sensory and sympathetic nerve fibers that innervate the tumor undergo sprouting at the viable/leading edge of the parent tumor, degenerate as the parent cancer cell colony becomes necrotic, and resprout in the viable, newly formed daughter cell colonies. These results suggest that preemptive or late-stage blockade of NGF/TrkA can attenuate nerve sprouting and cancer pain.