• GAS5 lncRNA Modulates the Action of mTOR Inhibitors in Prostate Cancer Cells

      Yacqub-Usman, Kiren; Pickard, Mark R.; Williams, Gwyn T.; Keele University, United Kingdom (NCRI Cancer Conference 2014 Abstracts, 2014)
      Background There is a need to develop new therapies for castrate-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) and growth arrest-specific 5 (GAS5) long non-coding RNA (lncRNA), which riborepresses androgen receptor action, may offer novel opportunities in this regard. GAS5 lncRNA expression declines as prostate cancer cells acquire castrate-resistance, and decreased GAS5 expression attenuates the responses of prostate cancer cells to apoptotic stimuli. Enhancing GAS5 lncRNA expression may therefore offer a strategy to improve the effectiveness of chemotherapeutic agents. GAS5 is a member of the 5' terminal oligopyrimidine gene family, and we have therefore examined if mTOR inhibition can enhance cellular GAS5 levels in prostate cancer cells. In addition, we have determined if GAS5 lncRNA itself is required for mTOR inhibitor action in prostate cancer cells, as recently demonstrated in lymphoid cells. Method The effects of mTOR inhibitors on GAS5 lncRNA expression and cell proliferation were determined in a range of prostate cancer cell lines. Transfection of cells with GAS5 siRNA and plasmid constructs was performed to determine the involvement of GAS5 lncRNA in mTOR inhibitor action. Results Treatment with rapamycin and rapalogues increased cellular GAS5 levels and inhibited culture growth in both androgen-dependent (LNCaP) and androgen-sensitive (22Rv1) cell lines, but not in androgen-independent (PC-3 and DU145) cells. GAS5 silencing in both LNCaP and 22Rv1 cells decreased their sensitivity to growth inhibition by mTOR inhibitors. Moreover, transfection of GAS5 lncRNA sensitized PC-3 and DU145 cells to mTOR inhibitors, resulting in inhibition of culture growth. Conclusion mTOR inhibition enhances GAS5 transcript levels in some, but not all, prostate cancer cell lines. This may in part be related to endogenous levels of GAS5 expression, which tend to be lower in prostate cancer cells representative of advanced disease, particularly since current findings demonstrate a role for GAS5 lncRNA in mTOR inhibitor action in prostate cancer cells.
    • High CIP2A levels correlate with an antiapoptotic phenotype that can be overcome by targeting BCL-XL in chronic myeloid leukemia. Leukemia

      Lucas, Claire; Milani, Mateus; Butterworth, Michael; Carmell, Natasha; Scott, Laura; Clark, Richard; Cohen, Gerald; Varadarajan, Shankar; University of Liverpool (Nature, 29/02/2016)
      Cancerous inhibitor of protein phosphatase 2A (CIP2A) is a predictive biomarker of disease progression in many malignancies, including imatinib-treated chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). Although high CIP2A levels correlate with disease progression in CML, the underlying molecular mechanisms remain elusive. In a screen of diagnostic chronic phase samples from patients with high and low CIP2A protein levels, high CIP2A levels correlate with an antiapoptotic phenotype, characterized by downregulation of proapoptotic BCL-2 family members, including BIM, PUMA and HRK, and upregulation of the antiapoptotic protein BCL-XL. These results suggest that the poor prognosis of patients with high CIP2A levels is due to an antiapoptotic phenotype. Disrupting this antiapoptotic phenotype by inhibition of BCL-XL via RNA interference or A-1331852, a novel, potent and BCL-XL-selective inhibitor, resulted in extensive apoptosis either alone or in combination with imatinib, dasatinib or nilotinib, both in cell lines and in primary CD34(+) cells from patients with high levels of CIP2A. These results demonstrate that BCL-XL is the major antiapoptotic survival protein and may be a novel therapeutic target in CML.
    • The hormone response element mimic sequence of GAS5 lncRNA is sufficient to induce apoptosis in breast cancer cells.

      Pickard, Mark R.; Williams, Gwyn T.; Keele University (Impact Journals, 03/02/2016)
      Growth arrest-specific 5 (GAS5) lncRNA promotes apoptosis, and its expression is down-regulated in breast cancer. GAS5 lncRNA is a decoy of glucocorticoid/related receptors; a stem-loop sequence constitutes the GAS5 hormone response element mimic (HREM), which is essential for the regulation of breast cancer cell apoptosis. This preclinical study aimed to determine if the GAS5 HREM sequence alone promotes the apoptosis of breast cancer cells. Nucleofection of hormone-sensitive and -insensitive breast cancer cell lines with a GAS5 HREM DNA oligonucleotide increased both basal and ultraviolet-C-induced apoptosis, and decreased culture viability and clonogenic growth, similar to GAS5 lncRNA. The HREM oligonucleotide demonstrated similar sequence specificity to the native HREM for its functional activity and had no effect on endogenous GAS5 lncRNA levels. Certain chemically modified HREM oligonucleotides, notably DNA and RNA phosphorothioates, retained pro-apoptotic. activity. Crucially the HREM oligonucleotide could overcome apoptosis resistance secondary to deficient endogenous GAS5 lncRNA levels. Thus, the GAS5 lncRNA HREM sequence alone is sufficient to induce apoptosis in breast cancer cells, including triple-negative breast cancer cells. These findings further suggest that emerging knowledge of structure/function relationships in the field of lncRNA biology can be exploited for the development of entirely novel, oligonucleotide mimic-based, cancer therapies.
    • Interactions between PP4 and PEA-15 in the regulation of cell proliferation and apoptosis of breast cancer cells

      Mohammed, Hiba N.; Pickard, Mark R.; Mourtada-Maarabouni, Mirna; Keele University, United Kingdom (NCRI Cancer Conference 2015 Abstracts, 2015)
      Background The serine/threonine protein phosphatase 4 (PP4) is recognised to regulate a variety of cellular functions. Our previous work has shown that the catalytic subunit of PP4 (PP4c) promotes cell death and inhibits proliferation in breast cancer cells, suggestive of a role of PP4c as tumour suppressor gene. Phosphoprotein enriched in astrocytes 15 (PEA-15), a member of the death effector domain protein family known to control cell survival, is reported to be regulated by PP4c. The aims of this study were to investigate the involvement of PEA-15 in mediating the effects of PP4c on breast cancer cells. Method PEA-15 phosphorylation was examined by western blot analysis on proteins extracted from MCF7 and MDA-MB-231 cells over-expressing PP4 and PP4 knock down cells. To investigate the role of PEA-15 in mediating the effects of PP4c, MCF7 and MDA-MB-231 were transfected with control (-) siRNA or with three different PEA-15 specific siRNAs. 48 h post-transfection, control cells (transfected with negative control siRNA) and cells transfected with PEA-15 siRNAs were transiently transfected with pcDNA3.1-PP4c expression construct or pcDNA3.1. Cell viability and apoptosis level were assessed post transfection. Results In MCF7 and MDA-MB-231 cells, the phosphorylation state of PEA-15 increased when PP4c expression was suppressed and decreased when PP4c was over-expressed. Over-expression of PP4c in cells transfected with (-) siRNA caused 50% reduction in viability compared to cells transfected with empty vector. Cells transfected with PEA-15 siRNAs showed a decrease in viable cell number and long term survival. However, over-expression of PP4c in these cells did not have any additional effect on the decrease in cell viability. Conclusion These observations suggest that the induction of apoptosis by over-expression of PP4c is mediated, at least in part, by the dephosphorylation of PEA-15. The interactions between PEA-15 and PP4c may therefore be critical in breast cancer tumorigenesis.
    • Regulation of apoptosis by long non-coding RNA GAS5 in breast cancer cells: implications for chemotherapy.

      Pickard, Mark R.; Williams, Gwyn T.; Keele University, United Kingdom (01/05/2014)
      The putative tumour suppressor and apoptosis-promoting gene, growth arrest-specific 5 (GAS5), encodes long ncRNA (lncRNA) and snoRNAs. Its expression is down-regulated in breast cancer, which adversely impacts patient prognosis. In this preclinical study, the consequences of decreased GAS5 expression for breast cancer cell survival following treatment with chemotherapeutic agents are addressed. In addition, functional responses of triple-negative breast cancer cells to GAS5 lncRNA are examined, and mTOR inhibition as a strategy to enhance cellular GAS5 levels is investigated. Breast cancer cell lines were transfected with either siRNA to GAS5 or with a plasmid encoding GAS5 lncRNA and the effects on breast cancer cell survival were determined. Cellular responses to mTOR inhibitors were evaluated by assaying culture growth and GAS5 transcript levels. GAS5 silencing attenuated cell responses to apoptotic stimuli, including classical chemotherapeutic agents; the extent of cell death was directly proportional to cellular GAS5 levels. Imatinib action in contrast, was independent of GAS5. GAS5 lncRNA promoted the apoptosis of triple-negative and oestrogen receptor-positive cells but only dual PI3K/mTOR inhibition was able to enhance GAS5 levels in all cell types. Reduced GAS5 expression attenuates apoptosis induction by classical chemotherapeutic agents in breast cancer cells, providing an explanation for the relationship between GAS5 expression and breast cancer patient prognosis. Clinically, this relationship may be circumvented by the use of GAS5-independent drugs such as imatinib, or by restoration of GAS5 expression. The latter may be achieved by the use of a dual PI3K/mTOR inhibitor, to improve apoptotic responses to conventional chemotherapies.