Pharmacological induction of selective endoplasmic reticulum retention as a strategy for cancer therapy.
ABSTRACT: The integrated stress response (ISR) converges on eIF2? phosphorylation to regulate protein synthesis. ISR is activated by several stress conditions, including endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, executed by protein kinase R-like endoplasmic reticulum kinase (PERK). We report that ER stress combined with ISR inhibition causes an impaired maturation of several tyrosine kinase receptors (RTKs), consistent with a partial block of their trafficking from the ER to the Golgi. Other proteins mature or are secreted normally, indicating selective retention in the ER (sERr). sERr is relieved upon protein synthesis attenuation and is accompanied by the generation of large mixed disulfide bonded complexes, including ERp44. sERr was pharmacologically recapitulated by combining the HIV-protease inhibitor nelfinavir with ISRIB, an experimental drug that inhibits ISR. Nelfinavir/ISRIB combination is highly effective to inhibit the growth of RTK-addicted cell lines and hepatocellular (HCC) cells in vitro and in vivo. Thus, pharmacological sERr can be utilized as a modality for cancer treatment.
Project description:The B7 family member, B7H6, is a ligand for the natural killer cell receptor NKp30. B7H6 is hardly expressed on normal tissues, but undergoes upregulation on different types of tumors, implicating it as an attractive target for cancer immunotherapy. The molecular mechanisms that control B7H6 expression are poorly understood. We report that in contrast to other NK cell ligands, endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress upregulates B7H6 mRNA levels and surface expression. B7H6 induction by ER stress requires protein kinase R-like ER kinase (PERK), one of the three canonical sensors of the unfolded protein response. PERK phosphorylates eIF2?, which regulates protein synthesis and gene expression. Because eIF2? is phosphorylated by several kinases following different stress conditions, the program downstream to eIF2? phosphorylation is called the integrated stress response (ISR). Several drugs were reported to promote the ISR. Nelfinavir and lopinavir, two clinically approved HIV protease inhibitors, promote eIF2? phosphorylation by different mechanisms. We show that nelfinavir and lopinavir sustainably instigate B7H6 expression at their pharmacologically relevant concentrations. As such, ER stress and ISR conditions sensitize melanoma targets to CAR-T cells directed against B7H6. Our study highlights a novel mechanism to induce B7H6 expression and suggests a pharmacological approach to improve B7H6-directed immunotherapy. KEY MESSAGES: B7H6 is induced by ER stress in a PERK-dependent mechanism. Induction of B7H6 is obtained pharmacologically by HIV protease inhibitors. Exposure of tumor cells to the HIV protease inhibitor nelfinavir improves the recognition by B7H6-directed CAR-T.
Project description:Phosphorylation of the ?-subunit of initiation factor 2 (eIF2) controls protein synthesis by a conserved mechanism. In metazoa, distinct stress conditions activate different eIF2? kinases (PERK, PKR, GCN2, and HRI) that converge on phosphorylating a unique serine in eIF2?. This collection of signaling pathways is termed the 'integrated stress response' (ISR). eIF2? phosphorylation diminishes protein synthesis, while allowing preferential translation of some mRNAs. Starting with a cell-based screen for inhibitors of PERK signaling, we identified a small molecule, named ISRIB, that potently (IC50 = 5 nM) reverses the effects of eIF2? phosphorylation. ISRIB reduces the viability of cells subjected to PERK-activation by chronic endoplasmic reticulum stress. eIF2? phosphorylation is implicated in memory consolidation. Remarkably, ISRIB-treated mice display significant enhancement in spatial and fear-associated learning. Thus, memory consolidation is inherently limited by the ISR, and ISRIB releases this brake. As such, ISRIB promises to contribute to our understanding and treatment of cognitive disorders. DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.00498.001.
Project description:In human cells, Ero1-Lalpha and -Lbeta (hEROs) regulate oxidative protein folding by selectively oxidizing protein disulfide isomerase. Specific protein--protein interactions are probably crucial for regulating the formation, isomerization and reduction of disulfide bonds in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). To identify molecules involved in ER redox control, we searched for proteins interacting with Ero1-Lalpha. Here, we characterize a novel ER resident protein (ERp44), which contains a thioredoxin domain with a CRFS motif and is induced during ER stress. ERp44 forms mixed disulfides with both hEROs and cargo folding intermediates. Whilst the interaction with transport-competent Ig-K chains is transient, ERp44 binds more stably with J chains, which are retained in the ER and eventually degraded by proteasomes. ERp44 does not bind a short-lived ribophorin mutant lacking cysteines. Its overexpression alters the equilibrium of the different Ero1-Lalpha redox isoforms, suggesting that ERp44 may be involved in the control of oxidative protein folding.
Project description:The integrated stress response (ISR) is activated by diverse forms of cellular stress, including endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, and is associated with diseases. However, the molecular mechanism(s) whereby the ISR impacts on differentiation is incompletely understood. Here, we exploited a mouse model of Metaphyseal Chondrodysplasia type Schmid (MCDS) to provide insight into the impact of the ISR on cell fate. We show the protein kinase RNA-like ER kinase (PERK) pathway that mediates preferential synthesis of ATF4 and CHOP, dominates in causing dysplasia by reverting chondrocyte differentiation via ATF4-directed transactivation of Sox9. Chondrocyte survival is enabled, cell autonomously, by CHOP and dual CHOP-ATF4 transactivation of Fgf21. Treatment of mutant mice with a chemical inhibitor of PERK signaling prevents the differentiation defects and ameliorates chondrodysplasia. By preventing aberrant differentiation, titrated inhibition of the ISR emerges as a rationale therapeutic strategy for stress-induced skeletal disorders.
Project description:Phosphorylation of translation initiation factor 2alpha (eIF2alpha) coordinates a translational and transcriptional program known as the integrated stress response (ISR), which adapts cells to endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress. A screen for small molecule activators of the ISR identified two related compounds that also activated sterol-regulated genes by blocking cholesterol biosynthesis at the level of CYP51. Ketoconazole, a known CYP51 inhibitor, had similar effects, establishing that perturbed flux of precursors to cholesterol activates the ISR. Surprisingly, compound-mediated activation of sterol-regulated genes was enhanced in cells with an ISR-blocking mutation in the regulatory phosphorylation site of eIF2alpha. Furthermore, induction of the ISR by an artificial drug-activated eIF2alpha kinase reduced the level of active sterol regulatory element binding protein (SREBP) and sterol-regulated mRNAs. These findings suggest a mechanism by which interactions between sterol metabolism, the ISR, and the SREBP pathway affect lipid metabolism during ER stress.
Project description:The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) plays a vital function in multiple cellular processes. There is a growing interest in developing therapeutic agents that can target the ER in cancer cells, inducing a stress response that leads to cell death. However, ER stress-inducing agents can also induce autophagy, a survival strategy of cancer cells. Therefore, by inhibiting autophagy we can increase the efficacy of the ER stress-inducing agents. Nelfinavir, a human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) protease inhibitor with anti-cancer properties, can induce ER stress. Nelfinavir's effects on chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) are yet to be elucidated. Herein we demonstrate that nelfinavir induces ER morphological changes and stress response, along with an autophagic protective strategy. Our data reveal that chloroquine, an autophagy inhibitor, significantly increases nelfinavir cytotoxicity. These results identify a novel strategy potentially effective in CLL treatment, by repositioning two well-known drugs as a combinatorial therapy with anti-cancer properties.
Project description:Inappropriate activation of mammalian/mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) is common in cancer and has many cellular consequences including elevated endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress. Cells employ autophagy as a critical compensatory survival mechanism during ER stress. This study utilised drug-induced ER stress through nelfinavir in order to examine ER stress tolerance in cell lines with hyper-active mTORC1 signalling. Our initial findings in wild type cells showed nelfinavir inhibited mTORC1 signalling and upregulated autophagy, as determined by decreased rpS6 and S6K1 phosphorylation, and SQTSM1 protein expression, respectively. Contrastingly, cells with hyper-active mTORC1 displayed basally elevated levels of ER stress which was greatly exaggerated following nelfinavir treatment, seen through increased CHOP mRNA and XBP1 splicing. To further enhance the effects of nelfinavir, we introduced chloroquine as an autophagy inhibitor. Combination of nelfinavir and chloroquine significantly increased ER stress and caused selective cell death in multiple cell line models with hyper-active mTORC1, whilst control cells with normalised mTORC1 signalling tolerated treatment. By comparing chloroquine to other autophagy inhibitors, we uncovered that selective toxicity invoked by chloroquine was independent of autophagy inhibition yet entrapment of chloroquine to acidified lysosomal/endosomal compartments was necessary for cytotoxicity. Our research demonstrates that combination of nelfinavir and chloroquine has therapeutic potential for treatment of mTORC1-driven tumours.
Project description:Tumor cell adaptation to hypoxic stress is an important determinant of malignant progression. While much emphasis has been placed on the role of HIF-1 in this context, the role of additional mechanisms has not been adequately explored. Here we demonstrate that cells cultured under hypoxic/anoxic conditions and transformed cells in hypoxic areas of tumors activate a translational control program known as the integrated stress response (ISR), which adapts cells to endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress. Inactivation of ISR signaling by mutations in the ER kinase PERK and the translation initiation factor eIF2alpha or by a dominant-negative PERK impairs cell survival under extreme hypoxia. Tumors derived from these mutant cell lines are smaller and exhibit higher levels of apoptosis in hypoxic areas compared to tumors with an intact ISR. Moreover, expression of the ISR targets ATF4 and CHOP was noted in hypoxic areas of human tumor biopsy samples. Collectively, these findings demonstrate that activation of the ISR is required for tumor cell adaptation to hypoxia, and suggest that this pathway is an attractive target for antitumor modalities.
Project description:Human glioblastoma multiforme cells demonstrate varying levels of sensitivity to tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL)-induced apoptosis. Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress has been shown to trigger cell death through apoptosis. We therefore pursued a strategy of integrating clinically relevant investigational agents that cooperate mechanistically through the regulation of ER stress and apoptosis pathways. Nelfinavir belongs to the protease inhibitor class of drugs currently used to treat patients with HIV and is in clinical trials as an anti-tumor agent. We found that Nelfinavir treatment led to ER stress-induced up-regulation of the DR5 receptor. This transactivation was mediated by the transcription factor CCAAT/enhancer binding protein homologous protein (CHOP). We also determined that ER stress-induced ATF4 up-regulation was responsible for modulation of CHOP. In contrast, DR4 receptor expression was unchanged by Nelfinavir treatment. Combining Nelfinavir with TRAIL led to a significantly enhanced level of apoptosis that was abrogated by siRNA silencing of DR5. We provide evidence that Nelfinavir-induced ER stress modulates DR5 expression in human glioblastoma multiforme cells and can enhance TRAIL efficacy. These studies provide a potential mechanistic rationale for the use of the Food and Drug Administration-approved agent Nelfinavir in combination with DR5 agonists to induce apoptosis in human malignancies.
Project description:In response to ER stress, the pancreatic endoplasmic reticulum kinase (PERK) coordinates an adaptive program known as the integrated stress response (ISR) by phosphorylating the alpha subunit of eukaryotic translation initiation factor 2 (eIF2alpha). IFN-gamma, which activates the ER stress response in oligodendrocytes, is believed to play a critical role in the immune-mediated CNS disorder multiple sclerosis (MS) and its mouse model, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). Here we report that CNS delivery of IFN-gamma before EAE onset ameliorated the disease course and prevented demyelination, axonal damage, and oligodendrocyte loss. The beneficial effects of IFN-gamma were accompanied by PERK activation in oligodendrocytes and were abrogated in PERK-deficient animals. Our results indicate that IFN-gamma activation of PERK in mature oligodendrocytes attenuates EAE severity and suggest that therapeutic approaches to activate the ISR could prove beneficial in MS.