[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Aerobic glycolysis (the Warburg effect) is a core hallmark of cancer, but the molecular mechanisms underlying it remain unclear. Here, we identify an unexpected central role for mTORC2 in cancer metabolic reprogramming where it controls glycolytic metabolism by ultimately regulating the cellular level of c-Myc. We show that mTORC2 promotes inactivating phosphorylation of class IIa histone deacetylases, which leads to the acetylation of FoxO1 and FoxO3, and this in turn releases c-Myc from a suppressive miR-34c-dependent network. These central features of activated mTORC2 signaling, acetylated FoxO, and c-Myc levels are highly intercorrelated in clinical samples and with shorter survival of GBM patients. These results identify a specific, Akt-independent role for mTORC2 in regulating glycolytic metabolism in cancer.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Alternative splicing contributes to diverse aspects of cancer pathogenesis including altered cellular metabolism, but the specificity of the process or its consequences are not well understood. We characterized genome-wide alternative splicing induced by the activating EGFRvIII mutation in glioblastoma (GBM). EGFRvIII upregulates the heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein (hnRNP) A1 splicing factor, promoting glycolytic gene expression and conferring significantly shorter survival in patients. HnRNPA1 promotes splicing of a transcript encoding the Myc-interacting partner Max, generating Delta Max, an enhancer of Myc-dependent transformation. Delta Max, but not full-length Max, rescues Myc-dependent glycolytic gene expression upon induced EGFRvIII loss, and correlates with hnRNPA1 expression and downstream Myc-dependent gene transcription in patients. Finally, Delta Max is shown to promote glioma cell proliferation in vitro and augment EGFRvIII expressing GBM growth in vivo. These results demonstrate an important role for alternative splicing in GBM and identify Delta Max as a mediator of Myc-dependent tumor cell metabolism.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most aggressive of the astrocytic malignancies and the most common intracranial tumor in adults. Although the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is overexpressed and/or mutated in at least 50% of GBM cases and is required for tumor maintenance in animal models, EGFR inhibitors have thus far failed to deliver significant responses in GBM patients. One inherent resistance mechanism in GBM is the coactivation of multiple receptor tyrosine kinases, which generates redundancy in activation of phosphoinositide-3'-kinase (PI3K) signaling. Here we demonstrate that the phosphatase and tensin homolog deleted on chromosome 10 (PTEN) tumor suppressor is frequently phosphorylated at a conserved tyrosine residue, Y240, in GBM clinical samples. Phosphorylation of Y240 is associated with shortened overall survival and resistance to EGFR inhibitor therapy in GBM patients and plays an active role in mediating resistance to EGFR inhibition in vitro. Y240 phosphorylation can be mediated by both fibroblast growth factor receptors and SRC family kinases (SFKs) but does not affect the ability of PTEN to antagonize PI3K signaling. These findings show that, in addition to genetic loss and mutation of PTEN, its modulation by tyrosine phosphorylation has important implications for the development and treatment of GBM.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 08/2012; 109(35):14164-9. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although it is known that mTOR complex 2 (mTORC2) functions upstream of Akt, the role of this protein kinase complex in cancer is not well understood. Through an integrated analysis of cell lines, in vivo models, and clinical samples, we demonstrate that mTORC2 is frequently activated in glioblastoma (GBM), the most common malignant primary brain tumor of adults. We show that the common activating epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutation (EGFRvIII) stimulates mTORC2 kinase activity, which is partially suppressed by PTEN. mTORC2 signaling promotes GBM growth and survival and activates NF-κB. Importantly, this mTORC2-NF-κB pathway renders GBM cells and tumors resistant to chemotherapy in a manner independent of Akt. These results highlight the critical role of mTORC2 in the pathogenesis of GBM, including through the activation of NF-κB downstream of mutant EGFR, leading to a previously unrecognized function in cancer chemotherapy resistance. These findings suggest that therapeutic strategies targeting mTORC2, alone or in combination with chemotherapy, will be effective in the treatment of cancer. SIGNIFICANCE: This study demonstrates that EGFRvIII-activated mTORC2 signaling promotes GBM proliferation, survival, and chemotherapy resistance through Akt-independent activation of NF-κB. These results highlight the role of mTORC2 as an integrator of two canonical signaling networks that are commonly altered in cancer, EGFR/phosphoinositide-3 kinase (PI3K) and NF-κB. These results also validate the importance of mTORC2 as a cancer target and provide new insights into its role in mediating chemotherapy resistance, suggesting new treatment strategies.
Cancer Discovery 11/2011; 1(6):524-38. · 10.14 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common malignant primary brain tumor of adults and one of the most lethal of all cancers. Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations (EGFRvIII) and phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) hyperactivation are common in GBM, promoting tumor growth and survival, including through sterol regulatory element-binding protein 1 (SREBP-1)-dependent lipogenesis. The role of cholesterol metabolism in GBM pathogenesis, its association with EGFR/PI3K signaling, and its potential therapeutic targetability are unknown. In our investigation, studies of GBM cell lines, xenograft models, and GBM clinical samples, including those from patients treated with the EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor lapatinib, uncovered an EGFRvIII-activated, PI3K/SREBP-1-dependent tumor survival pathway through the low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR). Targeting LDLR with the liver X receptor (LXR) agonist GW3965 caused inducible degrader of LDLR (IDOL)-mediated LDLR degradation and increased expression of the ABCA1 cholesterol efflux transporter, potently promoting tumor cell death in an in vivo GBM model. These results show that EGFRvIII can promote tumor survival through PI3K/SREBP-1-dependent upregulation of LDLR and suggest a role for LXR agonists in the treatment of GBM patients.
Cancer Discovery 09/2011; 1(5):442-56. · 10.14 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) is a tumor suppressor that is inactivated in many human cancers. PTEN loss has been associated with resistance to inhibitors of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), but the molecular basis of this resistance is unclear. It is believed that unopposed phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K) activation through multiple receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) can relieve PTEN-deficient cancers from their "dependence" on EGFR or any other single RTK for survival. Here we report a distinct resistance mechanism whereby PTEN inactivation specifically raises EGFR activity by impairing the ligand-induced ubiquitylation and degradation of the activated receptor through destabilization of newly formed ubiquitin ligase Cbl complexes. PTEN-associated resistance to EGFR kinase inhibitors is phenocopied by expression of dominant negative Cbl and can be overcome by more complete EGFR kinase inhibition. PTEN inactivation does not confer resistance to inhibitors of the MET or PDGFRA kinase. Our study identifies a critical role for PTEN in EGFR signal termination and suggests that more potent EGFR inhibition should overcome resistance caused by PI3K pathway activation.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 03/2010; 107(14):6459-64. · 9.74 Impact Factor