A drug library screen identifies Carbenoxolone as novel FOXO inhibitor that overcomes FOXO3-mediated chemoprotection in high-stage neuroblastoma.
ABSTRACT: The transcription factor FOXO3 has been associated in different tumor entities with hallmarks of cancer, including metastasis, tumor angiogenesis, maintenance of tumor-initiating stem cells, and drug resistance. In neuroblastoma (NB), we recently demonstrated that nuclear FOXO3 promotes tumor angiogenesis in vivo and chemoresistance in vitro. Hence, inhibiting the transcriptional activity of FOXO3 is a promising therapeutic strategy. However, as no FOXO3 inhibitor is clinically available to date, we used a medium-throughput fluorescence polarization assay (FPA) screening in a drug-repositioning approach to identify compounds that bind to the FOXO3-DNA-binding-domain (DBD). Carbenoxolone (CBX), a glycyrrhetinic acid derivative, was identified as a potential FOXO3-inhibitory compound that binds to the FOXO3-DBD with a binding affinity of 19?µM. Specific interaction of CBX with the FOXO3-DBD was validated by fluorescence-based electrophoretic mobility shift assay (FAM-EMSA). CBX inhibits the transcriptional activity of FOXO3 target genes, as determined by chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP), DEPP-, and BIM promoter reporter assays, and real-time RT-PCR analyses. In high-stage NB cells with functional TP53, FOXO3 triggers the expression of SESN3, which increases chemoprotection and cell survival. Importantly, FOXO3 inhibition by CBX treatment at pharmacologically relevant concentrations efficiently repressed FOXO3-mediated SESN3 expression and clonogenic survival and sensitized high-stage NB cells to chemotherapy in a 2D and 3D culture model. Thus, CBX might be a promising novel candidate for the treatment of therapy-resistant high-stage NB and other "FOXO-resistant" cancers.
Project description:Forkhead box O class transcription factors are homeostasis regulators that control cell death, longevity and therapy-resistance. In neuroblastoma (NB), nuclear FOXO3 correlates with stage M disease and poor prognosis. To analyze whether FOXO3 contributes to drug-resistance in this childhood cancer, we investigated how different high-stage-derived NB cells respond to the activation of an ectopic FOXO3 allele. We found endogenous FOXO3 mostly localized to the nucleus-upon activation of an ectopic, 4OHT-activated FOXO3(A3)ER fusion protein two of the cell lines underwent apoptosis, whereas in the others FOXO3-activation even increased survival during drug-treatment. In the latter cell type, FOXO3 did not induce the BH3-only protein BCL2L11/BIM due to impaired binding of FOXO3 to the BIM-promoter, but still activated other FOXO3 targets. It was shown before that FOXO3 and TP53 physically interact with each other at two different regions-the TP53-N-terminus binds to the FOXO3-DNA binding domain (DBD) and the FOXO3-C-terminus interacts with the TP53-DBD. Interestingly, cell lines that undergo FOXO3-induced cell death carry homozygous point mutations in the TP53-DBD near the structural hotspot-mutation-site R175H, which abrogated FOXO3-TP53 interaction. In contrast, in FOXO3-death-resistant cells no point mutations in the TP53-DBD were found-in these cells FOXO3-TP53 complexes are formed and FOXO3-binding to the BIM-promoter, but not the induction of the detoxifying protein SESN3, were prevented, which in turn increased chemo-protection in this type of high-stage-derived NB cells. Our combined data suggest that FOXO3 steps in as a death inducer in case of TP53-mutation, whereas functional TP53 alters FOXO3-target-promoter-recognition, which prevents death induction by FOXO3 and instead increases chemo-protection and survival of NB cells. This novel mechanism may explain the low incidence of TP53 mutation in high-stage NB at diagnosis and suggests FOXO3 as a therapeutic target for this childhood malignancy.
Project description:The transcription factor FOXO3 is associated with poor outcome in high-stage neuroblastoma (NB), as it facilitates chemoprotection and tumor angiogenesis. In other tumor entities, FOXO3 stimulates metastasis formation, one of the biggest challenges in the treatment of aggressive NB. However, the impact of FOXO3 on the metastatic potential of neuronal tumor cells remains largely unknown. In the present study, we uncover the small leucine-rich proteoglycan family member lumican (LUM) as a FOXO3-regulated gene that stimulates cellular migration in NB. By a drug-library screen we identified the small molecular weight compound repaglinide (RPG) as a putative FOXO3 inhibitor. Here, we verify that RPG binds to the FOXO3-DNA-binding-domain (DBD) and thereby silences the transcriptional activity of FOXO3. Consistent with the concept that the FOXO3/LUM axis enhances the migratory capacity of aggressive NB cells, we demonstrate that stable knockdown of LUM abrogates the FOXO3-mediated increase in cellular migration. Importantly, FOXO3 inhibition by RPG represses the binding of FOXO3 to the LUM promoter, inhibits FOXO3-mediated LUM RNA and protein expression, and efficiently abrogates FOXO3-triggered cellular "wound healing" as well as spheroid-based 3D-migration. Thus, silencing the FOXO3/LUM axis by the FDA-approved compound RPG represents a promising strategy for novel therapeutic interventions in NB and other FOXO3-dependent tumors.
Project description:Neuroblastoma is the most common solid tumor in childhood and develops from undifferentiated progenitor cells of the sympathetic nervous system. In neuronal tumor cells DNA-damaging chemotherapeutic agents activate the transcription factor FOXO3 which regulates the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and cell death as well as a longevity program associated with therapy resistance. We demonstrated before that C10ORF10/DEPP, a transcriptional target of FOXO3, localizes to peroxisomes and mitochondria and impairs cellular ROS detoxification. In the present study, we investigated the impact of FOXO3 and DEPP on the regulation of autophagy. Autophagy serves to reduce oxidative damage as it triggers a self-degradative process for the removal of aggregated or misfolded proteins and damaged organelles.The effect of FOXO3 and DEPP on autophagy induction was analyzed using live cell fluorescence microscopy and immunoblot analyses of SH-EP cells transfected with a plasmid for EYFP-LC3 and with siRNAs specific for LC3, respectively. ROS steady-state levels were measured with reduced MitoTrackerRed CM-H2XROS. Cellular apoptosis was analyzed by flow cytometry and the caspase 3/7 assay.We report for the first time that DEPP induces ROS accumulation and thereby mediates the formation of autophagosomes as inhibition of ROS formation by N-acetyl-cysteine completely blocks autophagy. We further demonstrate that H2O2-treatment triggers autophagy-induction by FOXO3-mediated DEPP expression. Importantly, knockdown of DEPP was sufficient to efficiently inhibit autophagy-induction under different stress conditions such as serum starvation and genotoxic stress, suggesting that DEPP expression is critical for the initiation of autophagy in neuroblastoma. FOXO3-triggered autophagy partially protects neuroblastoma cells from cell death. Consistent with this concept, we demonstrate that inhibition of autophagy by LC3-knockdown significantly increased etoposide- and doxorubicin-induced apoptosis. These results were also confirmed by the use of the autophagy-inhibitor chloroquine that significantly enhanced the chemotherapeutic effect of etoposide and doxorubicin in neuronal tumor cells.Targeting FOXO3/DEPP-triggered autophagy is a promising strategy to sensitize neuroblastoma cells to chemotherapy.
Project description:BACKGROUND:FOXO transcription factors control cellular levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) which critically contribute to cell survival and cell death in neuroblastoma. In the present study we investigated the regulation of C10orf10/DEPP by the transcription factor FOXO3. As a physiological function of C10orf10/DEPP has not been described so far we analyzed its effects on cellular ROS detoxification and death sensitization in human neuroblastoma cells. METHODS:The effect of DEPP on cellular ROS was measured by catalase activity assay and live cell fluorescence microscopy using the ROS-sensitive dye reduced MitoTracker Red CM-H2XROS. The cellular localization of DEPP was determined by confocal microscopy of EYFP-tagged DEPP, fluorescent peroxisomal- and mitochondrial probes and co-immunoprecipitation of the PEX7 receptor. RESULTS:We report for the first time that DEPP regulates ROS detoxification and localizes to peroxisomes and mitochondria in neuroblastoma cells. FOXO3-mediated apoptosis involves a biphasic ROS accumulation. Knockdown of DEPP prevented the primary and secondary ROS wave during FOXO3 activation and attenuated FOXO3- and H2O2-induced apoptosis. Conditional overexpression of DEPP elevates cellular ROS levels and sensitizes to H2O2 and etoposide-induced cell death. In neuronal cells, cellular ROS are mainly detoxified in peroxisomes by the enzyme CAT/catalase. As DEPP contains a peroxisomal-targeting-signal-type-2 (PTS2) sequence at its N-terminus that allows binding to the PEX7 receptor and import into peroxisomes, we analyzed the effect of DEPP on cellular detoxification by measuring enzyme activity of catalase. Catalase activity was reduced in DEPP-overexpressing cells and significantly increased in DEPP-knockdown cells. DEPP directly interacts with the PEX7 receptor and localizes to the peroxisomal compartment. In parallel, the expression of the transcription factor peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARG), a critical regulator of catalase enzyme activity, was strongly upregulated in DEPP-knockdown cells. CONCLUSION:The combined data indicate that in neuroblastoma DEPP localizes to peroxisomes and mitochondria and impairs cellular ROS detoxification, which sensitizes tumor cells to ROS-induced cell death.
Project description:Pituitary-dependent hyperadrenocorticism (PDH) is mainly caused by pituitary corticotroph tumors in dogs. A characteristic feature of corticotroph tumors is their resistance to negative feedback by glucocorticoids. In some animal species, including dogs, the aberrant expression of 11?-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (11HSD), a cortisol metabolic enzyme, is observed in corticotroph tumors. We previously reported that carbenoxolone (CBX), an inhibitor of 11HSD, suppressed ACTH secretion from the pituitary gland, and decreased cortisol concentrations in healthy dogs. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the therapeutic effects of CBX on dogs with PDH. Six dogs with PDH were treated with 60 to 80 mg/kg/day of CBX for 6 weeks, followed by trilostane, which is a commonly used agent for canine PDH. CBX treatment led to a gradual decrease in both basal and in corticotropic releasing hormone (CRH)-stimulated plasma ACTH concentrations and CRH-stimulated serum cortisol concentrations, without side effects. However, basal and stimulated ACTH and cortisol concentrations remained higher than those of healthy dogs, and clinical symptoms such as polydipsia and polyuria were not ameliorated. After a 2-week wash-out interval, trilostane was administered for 2 weeks. Although basal plasma ACTH concentrations were higher after trilostane treatment than CBX treatment, polydipsia and polyuria resolved in all six dogs. The reason for the lack of improvement in polydipsia and polyuria with CBX treatment is unclear. Other mechanisms, in addition to a partial decrease in ACTH secretion, are likely to be involved. In conclusion, this is the first study to report the in vivo effects of CBX in dogs with PDH. The findings suggest that CBX inhibits ACTH secretion from canine pituitary tumors, resulting in lower cortisol concentrations.
Project description:Tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) has been used extensively in cancer therapy. However, more than half of glioblastoma multiforme are insensitive to the apoptotic effect of TRAIL. Improvement in therapeutic modalities that enhances the efficacy of TRAIL in glioma is much sought after. In this study, we combined the tumor selectivity of TRAIL and tumor-homing properties of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) with gap junction (GJ) inhibitory effect of carbenoxolone (CBX) to target orthotopic glioma. MSC were engineered to express TRAIL (MSC-TRAIL) by incorporating the secretable trimeric form of TRAIL into a Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) type I amplicon vector. Our results showed that combined treatment of MSC-TRAIL and CBX enhanced glioma cell death, especially in three primary human glioma isolates, of which two of those are marginally sensitive to TRAIL. CBX enhanced TRAIL-induced apoptosis through upregulation of death receptor 5, blockade of GJ intercellular communication, and downregulation of connexin 43. Dual arm therapy using TRAIL and CBX prolonged the survival of treated mice by ~27% when compared with the controls in an intracranial glioma model. The enhanced efficacy of TRAIL in combination with CBX coupled with the minimal cytotoxic nature of CBX suggested a favorable clinical usage of this treatment regimen.
Project description:Cushing's disease caused by pituitary corticotroph adenoma is a common endocrine disease in dogs. A characteristic biochemical feature of corticotroph adenomas is their relative resistance to suppressive negative feedback by glucocorticoids. The abnormal expression of 11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (11HSD), which is a cortisol metabolic enzyme, is found in human and murine corticotroph adenomas. Our recent studies demonstrated that canine corticotroph adenomas also have abnormal expression of 11HSD. 11HSD has two isoforms in dogs, 11HSD type1 (HSD11B1), which converts cortisone into active cortisol, and 11HSD type2 (HSD11B2), which converts cortisol into inactive cortisone. It has been suggested that glucocorticoid resistance in corticotroph tumors is related to the overexpression of HSD11B2. Therefore it was our aim to investigate the effects of carbenoxolone (CBX), an 11HSD inhibitor, on the healthy dog's pituitary-adrenal axis. Dogs were administered 50 mg/kg of CBX twice each day for 15 days. During CBX administration, no adverse effects were observed in any dogs. The plasma adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), and serum cortisol and cortisone concentrations were significantly lower at day 7 and 15 following corticotropin releasing hormone stimulation. After completion of CBX administration, the HSD11B1 mRNA expression was higher, and HSD11B2 mRNA expression was significantly lower in the pituitaries. Moreover, proopiomelanocortin mRNA expression was lower, and the ratio of ACTH-positive cells in the anterior pituitary was also significantly lower after CBX treatment. In adrenal glands treated with CBX, HSD11B1 and HSD11B2 mRNA expression were both lower compared to normal canine adrenal glands. The results of this study suggested that CBX inhibits ACTH secretion from pituitary due to altered 11HSD expressions, and is potentially useful for the treatment of canine Cushing's disease.
Project description:Carbenoxolone (CBX) is a clinically prescribed drug for the treatment of digestive ulcer and inflammation. It is also a widely used pharmacological inhibitor of several channels in basic research. Given that the overactivity of several channels, including those inhibitable by CBX, underlies bladder dysfunction, we tested the potential therapeutic application and mechanism of CBX in the treatment of voiding dysfunction. In a mouse model of cystitis induced by cyclophosphamide (CYP), CBX administration prevented the CYP-elicited increase in bladder weight, oedema, haemorrhage, and urothelial injury. CBX also greatly improved micturition pattern, as manifested by the apparently decreased micturition frequency and increased micturition volume. Western blot results showed that CBX suppressed CYP-induced increase in protein carbonyls, COX-2, and iNOS. Further analysis using cultured urothelial cells revealed that acrolein, the major metabolite of CYP, caused protein oxidation, p38 activation, and urothelial injury. These effects of acrolein were reproduced by TRPV4 agonists and significantly prevented by antioxidant NAC, p38 inhibitor SB203580, TRPV4 antagonist RN-1734, and CBX. Further studies showed that CBX potently suppressed TRPV4 agonist-initiated calcium influx and subsequent cell injury. CBX attenuated CYP-induced cystitis in vivo and reduced acrolein-induced cell injury in vitro, through mechanisms involving inhibition of TRPV4 channels and attenuation of the channel-mediated oxidative stress. CBX might be a promising agent for the treatment of bladder dysfunction.
Project description:FOXO transcription factors control cellular formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which critically contribute to cell survival and cell death in neuroblastoma. Here, we report that C10orf10, also named “Decidual Protein induced by Progesterone (DEPP)”, is a direct transcriptional target of FOXO3 in human neuroblastoma. As FOXO3-mediated apoptosis involves a biphasic ROS accumulation, we analyzed cellular ROS levels in DEPP-knockdown cells by live-cell imaging. Knockdown of DEPP prevented the primary and secondary ROS accumulation during FOXO3 activation and attenuates FOXO3-induced apoptosis, whereas its overexpression raises cellular ROS levels and sensitizes to cell death. In neuronal cells, cellular steady state ROS are mainly detoxified in peroxisomes by the enzyme CAT/catalase. As DEPP contains a peroxisomal-targeting-signal-type-2 (PTS2) sequence at its N-terminus that enables protein import into peroxisomes, we analyzed the effect of DEPP on peroxisomal function by measuring the catalase enzyme activity. Catalase activity was reduced by conditional DEPP overexpression and significantly increased in DEPP-knockdown cells. Using live cell imaging and fluorescent peroxisomal and mitochondrial probes we demonstrate that DEPP localizes to peroxisomes and mitochondria in neuroblastoma cells. The combined data indicate that DEPP reduces peroxisomal activity and thereby impairs the cellular ROS detoxification capacity and contributes to death sensitization. SH-EP, NB15 neuroblastoma cells and CCRF-CEM-C7H2 acute lymphoblastic leukemia cells were infected with the retrovirus plasmid pLIB-FOXO3(A3)-Ertm-iresNeo. Gene expression measures of samples with activated FOXO3 transcription factor (3h OHT treated) have been compared to untreated samples (0h time point). To rule out gene regulations by estrogen samples treated for 3 hours with tamoxifen have been compared to the untreated samples. Only genes that were more than two-fold regulated in the first, but not in the second comparison were defined to be FOXO3 regulated.
Project description:Glioblastoma multiforme is the most malignant tumor of the brain and is challenging to treat due to its highly invasive nature and heterogeneity. Malignant brain tumor displays high metabolic activity which perturbs its redox environment and in turn translates to high oxidative stress. Thus, pushing the oxidative stress level to achieve the maximum tolerable threshold that induces cell death is a potential strategy for cancer therapy. Previously, we have shown that gap junction inhibitor, carbenoxolone (CBX), is capable of enhancing tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) -induced apoptosis in glioma cells. Since CBX is known to induce oxidative stress, we hypothesized that the addition of another potent mediator of oxidative stress, powerful SOD mimic MnTnBuOE-2-PyP(5+) (MnBuOE), could further enhance TRAIL-driven therapeutic efficacy in glioma cells. Our results showed that combining TRAIL + CBX with MnBuOE significantly enhances cell death of glioma cell lines and this enhancement could be further potentiated by CBX pretreatment. MnBuOE-driven cytotoxicity is due to its ability to take advantage of oxidative stress imposed by CBX + TRAIL system, and enhance it in the presence of endogenous reductants, ascorbate and thiol, thereby producing cytotoxic H2O2, and in turn inducing death of glioma cells but not normal astrocytes. Most importantly, combination treatment significantly reduces viability of TRAIL-resistant Asian patient-derived glioma cells, thus demonstrating the potential clinical use of our therapeutic system. It was reported that H2O2 is involved in membrane depolarization-based sensitization of cancer cells toward TRAIL. MnBuOE is entering Clinical Trials as a normal brain radioprotector in glioma patients at Duke University increasing Clinical relevance of our studies.