Induction of STK11-dependent cytoprotective autophagy in breast cancer cells upon honokiol treatment.
ABSTRACT: Cancer cells hijack autophagy pathway to evade anti-cancer therapeutics. Many molecular signaling pathways associated with drug-resistance converge on autophagy induction. Honokiol (HNK), a natural phenolic compound purified from Magnolia grandiflora, has recently been shown to impede breast tumorigenesis and, in the present study, we investigated whether breast cancer cells evoke autophagy to modulate therapeutic efficacy and functional networks of HNK. Indeed, breast cancer cells exhibit increased autophagosomes-accumulation, MAP1LC3B-II/LC3B-II-conversion, expression of ATG proteins as well as elevated fusion of autophagosomes and lysosomes upon HNK treatment. Breast cancer cells treated with HNK demonstrate significant growth inhibition and apoptotic induction, and these biological processes are blunted by macroautophagy/autophagy. Consequently, inhibiting autophagosome formation, abrogating autophagosome-lysosome fusion or genetic-knockout of BECN1 and ATG7 effectively increase HNK-mediated apoptotic induction and growth inhibition. Next, we explored the functional impact of tumor suppressor STK11 in autophagy induction in HNK-treated cells. STK11-silencing abrogates LC3B-II-conversion, and blocks autophagosome/lysosome fusion and lysosomal activity as illustrated by LC3B-Rab7 co-staining and DQ-BSA assay. Our results exemplify the cytoprotective nature of autophagy invoked in HNK-treated breast cancer cells and put forth the notion that a combined strategy of autophagy inhibition with HNK would be more effective. Indeed, HNK and chloroquine (CQ) show synergistic inhibition of breast cancer cells and HNK-CQ combination treatment effectively inhibits breast tumorigenesis and metastatic progression. Tumor-dissociated cells from HNK-CQ treated tumors exhibit abrogated invasion and migration potential. Together, these results implicate that breast cancer cells undergo cytoprotective autophagy to circumvent HNK and a combined treatment with HNK and CQ can be a promising therapeutic strategy for breast cancer.
Project description:ADIPOQ/adiponectin, an adipocytokine secreted by adipocytes in the breast tumor microenvironment, negatively regulates cancer cell growth hence increased levels of ADIPOQ/adiponectin are associated with decreased breast cancer growth. However, its mechanisms of action remain largely elusive. We report that ADIPOQ/adiponectin induces a robust accumulation of autophagosomes, increases MAP1LC3B-II/LC3B-II and decreases SQSTM1/p62 in breast cancer cells. ADIPOQ/adiponectin-treated cells and xenografts exhibit increased expression of autophagy-related proteins. LysoTracker Red-staining and tandem-mCherry-GFP-LC3B assay show that fusion of autophagosomes and lysosomes is augmented upon ADIPOQ/adiponectin treatment. ADIPOQ/adiponectin significantly inhibits breast cancer growth and induces apoptosis both in vitro and in vivo, and these events are preceded by macroautophagy/autophagy, which is integral for ADIPOQ/adiponectin-mediated cell death. Accordingly, blunting autophagosome formation, blocking autophagosome-lysosome fusion or genetic-knockout of BECN1/Beclin1 and ATG7 effectively impedes ADIPOQ/adiponectin induced growth-inhibition and apoptosis-induction. Mechanistic studies show that ADIPOQ/adiponectin reduces intracellular ATP levels and increases PRKAA1 phosphorylation leading to ULK1 activation. AMPK-inhibition abrogates ADIPOQ/adiponectin-induced ULK1-activation, LC3B-turnover and SQSTM1/p62-degradation while AMPK-activation potentiates ADIPOQ/adiponectin's effects. Further, ADIPOQ/adiponectin-mediated AMPK-activation and autophagy-induction are regulated by upstream master-kinase STK11/LKB1, which is a key node in antitumor function of ADIPOQ/adiponectin as STK11/LKB1-knockout abrogates ADIPOQ/adiponectin-mediated inhibition of breast tumorigenesis and molecular analyses of tumors corroborate in vitro mechanistic findings. ADIPOQ/adiponectin increases the efficacy of chemotherapeutic agents. Notably, high expression of ADIPOQ receptor ADIPOR2, ADIPOQ/adiponectin and BECN1 significantly correlates with increased overall survival in chemotherapy-treated breast cancer patients. Collectively, these data uncover that ADIPOQ/adiponectin induces autophagic cell death in breast cancer and provide in vitro and in vivo evidence for the integral role of STK11/LKB1-AMPK-ULK1 axis in ADIPOQ/adiponectin-mediated cytotoxic autophagy.
Project description:Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the third most common cause of cancer-related mortality, and despite recent advances in early diagnosis and therapeutics, HCC related morbidity and mortality rate continue to rise. Clearly, it is imperative to develop novel effective therapies for HCC to improve long-term survival of HCC patients. We found that Withaferin A (WFA), a bioactive compound derived from Withania somnifera, is an effective agent for HCC inhibition. Interestingly, we observed that in addition to inducing apoptotic cell death, WFA also induces autophagy in HCC cells. Utilizing mRFP-EGFP-LC3B, LC3B-GFP/Lysotracker and LC3B-GFP/Rab7-RFP, we show that WFA induces autophagosomes-lysosomes fusion. WFA-induced autolysosomes exhibit intact protein degradation activity as evident with cathepsin-D activation and DQ-BSA assays. Importantly, we present that inhibiting WFA-induced autophagy either by blocking autophagosome-formation or by elevating lysosomal pH (Chloroquine and Bafilomycin) enhances WFA-induced growth-inhibition and apoptosis, indicating the presence of cytoprotective autophagy. Indeed, WFA and CQ combination shows synergism and higher efficacy in comparison to either monotherapy. Collectively, we reveal that the efficacy of WFA is somewhat diminished by the concomitant induction of cytoprotective autophagy which can be successfully conquered by cotreatment with CQ, and we pave the way for development of a novel combination therapeutic strategy for HCC.
Project description:The role of circular RNA in cancer is emerging. A newly reported circular RNA HIPK3 (circHIPK3) is critical in cell proliferation of various cancer types, although its role in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), has yet to be elucidated. Our results provided evidence that silencing of circHIPK3 significantly impaired cell proliferation, migration, invasion and induced macroautophagy/autophagy. Mechanistically, we uncovered that autophagy was induced upon loss of circHIPK3 via the MIR124-3p-STAT3-PRKAA/AMPKa axis in STK11 mutant lung cancer cell lines (A549 and H838). STAT3 abrogation as well as transfection with a MIR124-3p mimic, recapitulated the induction of autophagy. We also demonstrated antagonistic regulation on autophagy between circHIPK3 and linear HIPK3 (linHIPK3). We therefore propose that the ratio between circHIPK3 and linHIPK3 (C:L ratio) may reflect autophagy levels in cancer cells. We observed that a high C:L ratio (>0.49) was an indicator of poor survival, especially in advanced-stage NSCLC patients. These results support that circHIPK3 is a key autophagy regulator in a subset of lung cancer and has potential clinical use as a prognostic factor. The circular RNA HIPK3 (circHIPK3) functions as an oncogene and autophagy regulator may potential use as a prognostic marker and therapeutic target in lung cancer.Abbreviations 3-MA: 3-methyladenine; AMPK: AMP-activated protein kinase; ATG7: autophagy related 7; Baf-A: bafilomycin A1; BECN1: beclin 1; circHIPK3: circular HIPK3; CQ: chloroquine; GAPDH: glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase; GFP: green fluorescent protein; HIPK3: homeodomain interacting protein kinase 3; IL6R: interleukin 6 receptor; MAP1LC3B/LC3B: microtubule associated protein 1 light chain 3 beta; NSCLC: non-small cell lung cancer; RFP: red fluorescent protein; RPS6KB1/S6K: ribosomal protein S6 kinase B1; SQSTM1/p62: sequestosome 1; STAT3: signal transducer and activator of transcription 3; STK11: serine/threonine kinase 11.
Project description:Basal rates of autophagy can be markedly accelerated by environmental stresses. Recently, autophagy has been involved in cancer-induced muscle wasting. Aim of this study has been to evaluate if autophagy is induced in the skeletal muscle of cancer patients. The expression (mRNA and protein) of autophagic markers has been evaluated in intraoperative muscle biopsies. Beclin-1 protein levels were increased in cachectic cancer patients, suggesting autophagy induction. LC3B-I protein levels were not significantly modified. LC3B-II protein levels were significantly increased in cachectic cancer patients suggesting either increased autophagosome formation or reduced autophagosome turnover. Conversely, p62 protein levels were increased in cachectic and non-cachectic cancer patients, suggesting impaired autophagosome clearance. As for mitophagy, both Bnip3 and Nix/Bnip3L show a trend to increase in cachectic patients. In the same patients, Parkin levels significantly increased, while PINK1 was unchanged. At gene level, Beclin-1, p-62, BNIP3, NIX/BNIP3L and TFEB mRNAs were not significantly modulated, while LC3B and PINK1 mRNA levels were increased and decreased, respectively, in cachectic cancer patients. Autophagy is induced in the skeletal muscle of cachectic cancer patients, although autophagosome clearance appears to be impaired. Further studies should evaluate whether modulation of autophagy could represent a relevant therapeutic strategy in cancer cachexia.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Autophagy is an intracellular process through which intracellular components are recycled in response to nutrient or growth factor deficiency to maintain homeostasis. We identified the peptide autophagy-related cancer-suppressing peptide (ARCSP), a potential antitumor peptide that disrupts intracellular homeostasis by blocking autophagic flux and causes cytotoxic death. METHODS:The proliferative ability of ARCSP-treated cervical cancer cells was examined by the CCK8, EdU, and colony formation assays. The TUNEL assay was used to detect apoptosis. Mitochondrial function was evaluated based on the mitochondrial membrane potential. Autophagic flux was detected by immunofluorescence and confocal microscopy. The autophagy-related proteins AMPK, Raptor, mTOR, p62, LC3B, atg7, Rab7, LAMP1, LAMP2, and cathepsin D were detected by Immunoblotting. The antitumor effect of ARCSP was explored in vivo by establishing a transplant tumor model in nude mice. RESULTS:The results demonstrated that ARCSP induced cell death and inhibited proliferation. ARCSP induced AMPK/mTOR activation, resulting in the accumulation of the proteins LC3B, p62 and Atg7. ARCSP also blocked autophagosome-lysosome fusion by inhibiting endosomal maturation and increasing the lysosomal pH. The accumulation of nonfused autophagosomes exacerbated cytotoxic death, whereas knocking down Atg7 reversed the cytotoxic death induced by ARCSP. ARCSP-treated cells exhibited increased cytotoxic death after cotreatment with an autophagy inhibitor (Chloroquine CQ). Furthermore, the tumors of ARCSP-treated nude mice were significantly smaller than those of untreated mice. CONCLUSIONS:Our findings demonstrate that ARCSP, a novel lethal nonfused autophagosome inducer, might cause mitochondrial dysfunction and autophagy-related cytotoxic death and is thus a prospective agent for cancer therapy.
Project description:Leptin, a hormone mainly produced from adipose tissue, has been shown to induce proliferation of cancer cells. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying leptin-induced tumor progression have not been clearly elucidated. In the present study, we investigated the role of autophagy in leptin-induced cancer cell proliferation using human hepatoma (HepG2) and breast cancer cells (MCF-7), and tumor growth in a xenograft model. Herein, we showed that leptin treatment caused autophagy induction as assessed by increase in expression of autophagy-related genes, including beclin-1, Atg5 and LC3 II, further induction of autophagosome formation and autophagic flux. Interestingly, inhibition of autophagic process by treatment with inhibitors and LC3B gene silencing blocked leptin-induced increase in cell number and suppression of apoptosis, indicating a crucial role of autophagy in leptin-induced tumor progression. Moreover, gene silencing of p53 or FoxO3A prevented leptin-induced LC3 II protein expression, suggesting an involvement of p53/FoxO3A axis in leptin-induced autophagy activation. Leptin administration also accelerated tumor growth in BALB/c nude mice, which was found to be autophagy dependent. Taken together, our results demonstrate that leptin-induced tumor growth is mediated by autophagy induction and autophagic process would be a promising target to regulate development of cancer caused by leptin production.
Project description:Measurement of autophagy in cancer and correlation with histopathologic grading or clinical outcomes has been limited. Accordingly, we investigated LC3B as an autophagosome marker by analyzing nearly 1,400 tumors from 20 types of cancer, focusing on correlations with clinical outcomes in melanoma and breast cancer.Staining protocols were developed for automated quantitative analysis (AQUA) using antibodies versus LC3 isoform B (LC3B) and Ki-67. Clinically annotated breast and melanoma tissue microarrays (TMA) and a multitumor array were used. An AQUA program was developed to quantitate LC3B distribution in punctate and diffuse compartments of the cell.LC3B staining was moderate to high in the large majority of tumors. The percentage of area occupied by punctate LC3B was elevated by 3- to 5-fold at high LC3B intensities. In breast cancer and melanoma TMAs, LC3B and Ki-67 showed strong correlations (P < 0.0001), and in multitumor TMAs, mitotic figures were most often seen in tumors with the highest LC3B expression (P < 0.002). In breast cancer, LC3B expression was elevated in node-positive versus node-negative primaries and associated with increased nuclear grade and shortened survival. In a melanoma TMA with no survival data, LC3B levels were highest in nodal, visceral, and cutaneous metastases.The results reveal a common expression of LC3B in malignancy and support emerging evidence that autophagy plays a significant role in cancer progression. High LC3B was associated proliferation, invasion and metastasis, high nuclear grade, and worse outcome. Thus, autophagy presents a key target of therapeutic vulnerability in solid tumors.
Project description:Besides cell death, autophagy and cell senescence are the main outcomes of anticancer treatment. We demonstrate that tacrine-melatonin heterodimer C10, a potent anti-Alzheimer's disease drug, has an antiproliferative effect on MCF-7 breast cancer cells. The main cell response to a 24?h-treatment with C10 was autophagy enhancement accompanied by inhibition of mTOR and AKT pathways. Significantly increased autophagy markers, such as LC3B- and ATG16L-positive vesicles, confirmed autophagy induction by C10. However, analysis of autophagic flux using mCherry-GFP-LC3B construct revealed inhibition of autophagy by C10 at the late-stage. Moreover, electron microscopy and analysis of colocalization of LC3B and LAMP-1 proteins provided evidence of autophagosome-lysosome fusion with concomitant inhibition of autolysosomal degradation function. After transient treatment with IC50 dose of C10 followed by cell culture without the drug, 20% of MCF-7 cells displayed markers of senescence. On the other hand, permanent cell treatment with C10 resulted in massive cell death on the 5th or 6th day. Recently, an approach whereby autophagy is induced by one compound and simultaneously blocked by the use of another one has been proposed as a novel anticancer strategy. We demonstrate that the same effect may be achieved using a single agent, C10. Our findings offer a new, promising strategy for anticancer treatment.
Project description:Cancer cells display abnormal redox metabolism. Autophagy, anoikis and reactive oxygen species (ROS) play a regulatory role during metastasis. LC3 is a well-known essential molecule for autophagy. Therefore, we wanted to explore the molecular interplay between autophagy, anoikis, and ROS in relation to LC3B. We observed enhanced LC3B level along with increased expression of p62 and modulation of other autophagy-related molecules (Atg 3, 5, 7, 12, 16L1 and Beclin1) by inducing oxidative-stress in ovarian cancer cells using a ROS-producing pro-oxidant molecule. Surprisingly, enhanced LC3B was unable to induce autophagosome formation rather promoted anoikis. ROS-induced inhibition of autophagosome-formation is possibly due to the instability of autophagy initiator, ULK1 complex. Moreover, such upregulation of LC3B via ROS enhanced several apoptotic molecules. Silencing LC3B reduced these apoptotic molecules and increased when overexpressed, suggesting its role in apoptosis. Furthermore, LC3B-dependent apoptosis was decreased by inhibiting ROS, indicating a possible link between ROS, LC3B, and apoptosis. Additionally, ROS-induced enhanced LC3B promoted detachment-induced cell death (anoikis). This was further reflected by reduced cell adhesion molecules (integrin-?3 and focal adhesion kinase) and mesenchymal markers (snail and slug). Our in vitro experimental data was further confirmed in primary tumors developed in syngeneic mice, which also showed ROS-mediated LC3B enhancement along with reduced autophagosomes, integrin-?3 and focal adhesion kinase ultimately leading to the decreased tumor mass. Additionally, primary cells from high-grade serous carcinoma patient's ascites exhibited LC3B enhancement and autophagy inhibition through ROS which provided a clinical relevance of our study. Taken together, this is the first evidence for a non-canonical role of LC3B in promoting anoikis in contrast to autophagy and may, therefore, consider as a potential therapeutic target molecule in ovarian cancer. Taken together, autophagy-inhibition may be an alternative approach to induce apoptosis/anoikis in cancer.
Project description:Macroautophagy/autophagy is a cellular process in which cytosolic contents are degraded by lysosome in response to various stress conditions. Apart from its role in the maintenance of cellular homeostasis, autophagy also involves in regulation of cell cycle progression under nutrient-deprivation conditions. However, whether and how autophagy is regulated by the cell cycle especially during mitosis remains largely undefined. Here we show that WIPI2/ATG18B (WD repeat domain, phosphoinositide interacting 2), an autophagy-related (ATG) protein that plays a critical role in autophagosome biogenesis, is a direct substrate of CUL4-RING ubiquitin ligases (CRL4s). Upon mitosis induction, CRL4s are activated via neddylation, and recruit WIPI2 via DDB1 (damage specific DNA binding protein 1), leading to polyubiquitination and proteasomal degradation of WIPI2 and suppression of autophagy. The WIPI2 protein level and autophagy during mitosis could be rescued by knockdown of CRL4s or treatment with MLN4924/Pevonedistat, a selective inhibitor of CRLs, via suppression of NAE1 (NEDD8 activating enzyme E1 subunit 1). Moreover, restoration of WIPI2 rescues autophagy during mitosis and leads to mitotic slippage and cell senescence. Our study thus discovers a novel function of CRL4s in autophagy by targeting WIPI2 for polyubiquitination and proteasomal degradation during mitosis. Abbreviations: ACTB, actin beta; ATG, autophagy-related; AMPK, AMP-activated protein kinase; AURKB/ARK2, aurora kinase B; BafA1, bafilomycin A1; CCNB1, cyclin B1; CDK1, cyclin dependent kinase 1; CHX, cycloheximide; CQ, chloroquine; CRL4s, CUL4-RING ubiquitin ligases; DDB1, damage specific DNA binding protein 1; GAPDH, glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase; GFP, green fluorescent protein; GST, glutathione S-transferase; MAP1LC3B/LC3B, microtubule associated protein 1 light chain 3 beta; STK11/LKB1,serine/threonine kinase 11; MTORC1/MTOR complex 1, mechanistic target of rapamycin kinase complex 1; NAE1, NEDD8 activating enzyme E1 subunit 1; NOC, nocodazole; RING, really interesting new gene; RBX1, ring-box 1; SA-GLB1/?-gal, senescence-associated galactosidase beta 1; TSC2, TSC complex subunit 2; TUBA, tubulin alpha; WIPI2, WD repeat domain, phosphoinositide interacting 2.