Epidermal growth factor receptor and notch pathways participate in the tumor suppressor function of gamma-secretase.
ABSTRACT Gamma-secretase, a unique aspartyl protease, is required for the regulated intramembrane proteolysis of Notch and APP, pathways that are implicated, respectively, in the pathogenesis of cancer and Alzheimer disease. However, the mechanism whereby reduction of gamma-secretase causes tumors such as squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) remains poorly understood. Here, we demonstrate that gamma-secretase functions in epithelia as a tumor suppressor in an enzyme activity-dependent manner. Notch signaling is down-regulated and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is activated in SCC caused by genetic reduction of gamma-secretase. Moreover, the level of EGFR is inversely correlated with the level of gamma-secretase in fibroblasts, suggesting that the up-regulation of EGFR stimulates hyperproliferation in epithelia of mice with genetic reduction of gamma-secretase. Supporting this notion is our finding that the proliferative response of fibroblasts lacking gamma-secretase activity is more sensitive when challenged by either EGF or an inhibitor of EGFR as ompared with wild type cells. Interestingly, the up-regulation of EGFR is independent of Notch signaling, suggesting that the EGFR pathway functions in parallel with Notch in the tumorigenesis of SCC. Collectively, our results establish a novel mechanism linking the EGFR pathway to the tumor suppressor role of gamma-secretase and that mice with genetic reduction of gamma-secretase represent an excellent rodent model for clarifying pathogenesis of SCC and for testing therapeutic strategy to ameliorate this type of human cancer.
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ABSTRACT: Abstract Objective: Semagacestat, a γ-secretase inhibitor, demonstrated an unfavorable risk-benefit profile in Phase 3 study of patients with Alzheimer's disease (IDENTITY trials), and clinical development was halted. To assist in future development of γ-secretase inhibitors, we report detailed safety findings from the IDENTITY study, with emphasis on those that might be mechanistically linked to γ-secretase inhibition. Research Design and Methods: The IDENTITY trial was a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of semagacestat (100 mg and 140 mg), in which 1537 patients age 55 years and older with probable Alzheimer's disease were randomized Treatment-emergent adverse events (TEAEs) are reported by body system along with pertinent laboratory, vital signs, and ECG findings. Results: Semagacestat treatment was associated with increased reporting of suspected Notch-related adverse events (gastrointestinal-, infection-, and skin cancer-related). Other relevant safety findings associated with semagacestat treatment included cognitive and functional worsening, skin-related TEAEs, renal and hepatic changes, increased QT interval, and weight loss. With few exceptions, differences between semagacestat and placebo treatment groups were no longer significant after cessation of treatment with active drug. Conclusions: Many of these safety findings can be attributed to γ-secretase inhibition, and may be valuable to researchers developing γ-secretase inhibitors.Current Medical Research and Opinion 07/2014; · 2.37 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Synaptic dysfunction is widely thought to play a key role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Presenilins, the major gene products involved in familial AD, are essential for short- and long-term synaptic plasticity in mature neurons as well as for the survival of cortical neurons during aging. Presenilin and nicastrin are both indispensable components of the γ-secretase complex, but it remains unknown whether presenilin regulates synaptic function in a γ-secretase-dependent or γ-secretase-independent manner and whether nicastrin plays similar roles in central synapses. In the current study, we address these questions using an electrophysiological approach to analyze nicastrin conditional knockout (cKO) mice in the hippocampal Schaffer collateral pathway. In these mice, we found that, even at 2 mo of age, deletion of nicastrin in excitatory neurons of the postnatal forebrain using Cre recombinase expressed under the control of the αCaMKII promoter led to deficits in presynaptic short-term plasticity including paired-pulse facilitation and frequency facilitation. Depletion of Ca(2+) in the endoplasmic reticulum mimics and occludes the presynaptic facilitation deficits in nicastrin cKO mice, suggesting that disrupted intracellular Ca(2+) homeostasis underlies the presynaptic deficits. In addition, NMDA receptor-mediated responses and long-term potentiation induced by theta-burst stimulation were decreased in nicastrin cKO mice at 3 mo but not at 2 mo of age. Together, these findings show that, similar to presenilins, nicastrin plays essential roles in the regulation of short- and long-term synaptic plasticity, highlighting the importance of γ-secretase in the function of mature synapses.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 06/2014; · 9.81 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: γ-secretase is a large ubiquitously expressed protease complex composed of four core subunits: presenilin, Aph1, PEN-2, and nicastrin. The function of γ-secretase in the cells is to proteolytically cleave various proteins within their transmembrane domains. Presenilin and Aph1 occur as alternative variants belonging to mutually exclusive γ-secretase complexes and providing the complexes with heterogeneous biochemical and physiological properties. γ-secretase is proposed to have a role in the development and progression of cancer and γ-secretase inhibitors are intensively studied for their probable anti-tumor effects in various types of cancer models. Here, we for the first time determined mRNA expression levels of presenilin-1, presenilin-2, Aph1a, Aph1b, PEN-2, and nicastrin in a set of breast cancer tissue samples (N = 55) by quantitative real-time PCR in order to clarify the clinical significance of the expression of different γ-secretase complex components in breast cancer. We found a high positive correlation between the subunit expression levels implying a common regulation of transcription. Our univariate Kaplan-Meier survival analyses established low expression level of γ-secretase complex as a risk factor for breast cancer specific mortality. The tumors expressing low levels of γ-secretase complex were characterized by high histopathological tumor grade, low or no expression of estrogen and progesterone receptors and consequently high probability to fall into the class of triple negative breast cancer tumors. These results may provide novel tools to further categorize breast cancer tumors, especially the highly aggressive and poorly treatable breast cancer type of triple negative cases, and suggest a significant role for γ-secretase in breast cancer.PLoS ONE 11/2013; 8(11):e79249. · 3.53 Impact Factor