[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) plays a dual role in hepatocytes, mediating both tumor suppressor and promoter effects. The suppressor effects of the cytokine can be negatively regulated by activation of survival signals, mostly dependent on tyrosine kinase activity. The aim of our work was to study the role of the protein-tyrosine phosphatase 1B (PTP1B) on the cellular responses to TGF-β, using for this purpose immortalized neonatal hepatocytes isolated from both PTP1B(+/+) and PTP1B(-/-) mice. We have found that PTP1B deficiency conferred resistance to TGF-β suppressor effects, such as apoptosis and growth inhibition, correlating with lower Smad2/Smad3 activation. Both responses were recovered in the presence of the general tyrosine kinase inhibitor genistein. PTP1B(-/-) cells showed elevated NF-κB activation in response to TGF-β. Knockdown of the NF-κB p65 subunit increased cell response in terms of Smads phosphorylation and apoptosis. Interestingly, these effects were accompanied by inhibition of Smad7 up-regulation. In addition, lack of PTP1B promoted an altered NADPH oxidase (NOX) expression pattern in response to TGF-β, strongly increasing the NOX1/NOX4 ratio, which was reverted by genistein and p65 knockdown. Importantly, NOX1 knockdown inhibited nuclear translocation of p65, promoted Smad phosphorylation, and decreased Smad7 levels. In summary, our results suggest that PTP1B deficiency confers resistance to TGF-β through Smad inhibition, an effect that is mediated by NOX1-dependent NF-κB activation, which in turn, increases the level of the Smad inhibitor Smad7 and participates in a positive feedback loop on NOX1 up-regulation.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 03/2012; 287(19):15263-74. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most common causes of cancer-related death. Different signaling pathways are de-regulated in this pathogenesis, among them the epidermal growth factor receptor one (EGFR/Erb1). Here we show that blockage of this pathway by the tyrphostin 4-(3-chloroanilino)-6,7-dimethoxyquinazoline (AG1478) in different liver tumor cell lines promotes both inhibition of cell proliferation and induction of cell death, which are coincident with arrest in the G1 phase of the cell cycle, caspase-3 activation and DNA fragmentation. AG1478 up-regulates the expression of the pro-apoptotic member of the BCL-2 family BIM and down-regulates the expression of the anti-apoptotic BCL-XL and MCL1. Furthermore, it also decreases the levels of the caspase inhibitors HIAP2 and XIAP. The treatment of HCC cells with AG1478 enhanced the apoptosis induced by other pro-apoptotic stimuli, such as the physiological cytokine, TGF-β, highly expressed in liver tumors, or the chemotherapeutic drug doxorubicin. The effects observed by AG1478 were broader than the ones seen by silencing of the EGFR with siRNA, which indicates that this drug might act on other targets different from the EGFR. In this same line of evidence, AG1478 retained some cytotoxic effects in cells where EGFR has been targeted knock-down with shRNA. Interestingly, AG1478 preferentially acts on liver tumor cells, being untransformed cells much less responsive to its cytotoxic effects. In conclusion, AG1478 could be a potential therapeutic drug to be used in HCC.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: FaO rat hepatoma cells show increased levels of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) ligands, when compared with adult normal hepatocytes, and higher activity of the TNF-alpha converting enzyme (TACE/ADAM17), which is required for EGFR ligand proteolysis and activation. In this work we have analysed the consequences of inhibiting the EGFR in FaO rat hepatoma cells, focusing the attention on autocrine growth and protection from apoptosis. Results have indicated that FaO cells show overactivation of the EGFR pathway, which induces basal growth (in the absence of serum) and protection from pro-apoptotic agents, such as doxorubicin, generating drug resistance. Treatment of cells with the combination of doxorubicin and the tyrphostin 4-(3-chloroanilino)-6,7-dimethoxyquinazoline (AG1478, a potent and specific inhibitor of EGFR tyrosine kinase) potently inhibits autocrine growth and induces apoptosis. The apoptotic effect correlates with high expression and activation of the pro-apoptotic Bax and decreased transcript and protein levels of the anti-apoptotic Mcl-1 and Bcl-x(L). Furthermore, the combination of AG1478 and doxorubicin induces reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and glutathione depletion in FaO cells, coincident with up-regulation of the NADPH oxidase NOX4 and down-regulation of the gamma-glutamylcysteine synthetase (gamma-GCS), a key regulatory enzyme of the glutathione synthesis. Incubation of cells with glutathione ethyl ester attenuates the apoptosis induced by the combination of doxorubicin and AG1478, which indicates that glutathione depletion is required for an efficient cell death. In conclusion, targeting EGFR combined with other conventional pro-apoptotic drugs should potentially be effective in antineoplastic therapy towards liver cancer.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The TGF-beta (transforming growth factor-beta) induces survival signals in foetal rat hepatocytes through transactivation of EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor). The molecular mechanism is not completely understood, but both activation of the TACE (tumour necrosis factor alpha-converting enzyme)/ADAM17 (a disintegrin and metalloproteinase 17; one of the metalloproteases involved in shedding of the EGFR ligands) and up-regulation of TGF-alpha and HB-EGF (heparin-binding epidermal growth factor-like growth factor) appear to be involved. In the present study, we have analysed the molecular mechanisms that mediate up-regulation of the EGFR ligands by TGF-beta in foetal rat hepatocytes. The potential involvement of ROS (reactive oxygen species), an early signal induced by TGF-beta, and the existence of an amplification loop triggered by initial activation of the EGFR, have been studied. Results indicate that DPI (diphenyleneiodonium) and apocynin, two NOX (NADPH oxidase) inhibitors, and SB431542, an inhibitor of the TbetaR-I (TGF-beta receptor I), block up-regulation of EGFR ligands and Akt activation. Different members of the NOX family of genes are expressed in hepatocytes, included nox1, nox2 and nox4. TGF-beta up-regulates nox4 and increases the levels of Rac1 protein, a known regulator of both Nox1 and Nox2, in a TbetaR-I-dependent manner. TGF-beta mediates activation of the nuclear factor-kappaB pathway, which is inhibited by DPI and is required for up-regulation of TGF-alpha and HB-EGF. In contrast, EGFR activation is not required for TGF-beta-induced up-regulation of those ligands. Considering previous work that has established the role of ROS in apoptosis induced by TGF-beta in hepatocytes, the results of the present study indicate that ROS might mediate both pro- and anti-apoptotic signals in TGF-beta-treated cells.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) regulates hepatocyte growth, inhibiting proliferation and inducing apoptosis. Indeed, escaping from the TGF-beta suppressor actions might be a prerequisite for liver tumour progression. In this work we show that TGF-beta plays a dual role in regulating apoptosis in FaO rat hepatoma cells, since, in addition to its pro-apoptotic effect, TGF-beta also activates survival signals, such as AKT, the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) being required for its activation. TGF-beta induces the expression of the EGFR ligands transforming growth factor-alpha (TGF-alpha) and heparin-binding EGF-like growth factor (HB-EGF) and induces intracellular re-localization of the EGFR. Cells that overcome the apoptotic effects of TGF-beta undergo morphological changes reminiscent of an epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) process. In contrast, TGF-beta does not activate AKT in adult hepatocytes, which correlates with lack of EGFR transactivation and no response to EGFR inhibitors. Although TGF-beta induces TGF-alpha and HB-EGF in adult hepatocytes, these cells show very low expression of TACE/ADAM 17 (TNF-alpha converting enzyme), which is required for EGFR ligand proteolysis and activation. Furthermore, adult hepatocytes do not undergo EMT processes in response to TGF-beta, which might be due, at least in part, to the fact that F-actin re-organization induced by TGF-beta in FaO cells require the EGFR pathway. Finally, results indicate that EGFR transactivation does not block TGF-beta-induced cell cycle arrest in FaO cells, but must be interfering with the pro-apoptotic signalling. In conclusion, TGF-beta is a suppressor factor for adult quiescent hepatocytes, but not for hepatoma cells, where it plays a dual role, both suppressing and promoting carcinogenesis.