Rachel S Lee

Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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Publications (3)17.42 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Precise regulation of ribosome biogenesis is fundamental to maintain normal cell growth and proliferation, and accelerated ribosome biogenesis is associated with malignant transformation. Here, we show that the kinase AKT regulates ribosome biogenesis at multiple levels to promote ribosomal RNA (rRNA) synthesis. Transcription elongation by RNA polymerase I, which synthesizes rRNA, required continuous AKT-dependent signaling, an effect independent of AKT's role in activating the translation-promoting complex mTORC1 (mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1). Sustained inhibition of AKT and mTORC1 cooperated to reduce rRNA synthesis and ribosome biogenesis by additionally limiting RNA polymerase I loading and pre-rRNA processing. In the absence of growth factors, constitutively active AKT increased synthesis of rRNA, ribosome biogenesis, and cell growth. Furthermore, AKT cooperated with the transcription factor c-MYC to synergistically activate rRNA synthesis and ribosome biogenesis, defining a network involving AKT, mTORC1, and c-MYC as a master controller of cell growth. Maximal activation of c-MYC-dependent rRNA synthesis in lymphoma cells required AKT activity. Moreover, inhibition of AKT-dependent rRNA transcription was associated with increased lymphoma cell death by apoptosis. These data indicate that decreased ribosome biogenesis is likely to be a fundamental component of the therapeutic response to AKT inhibitors in cancer.
    Science Signaling 08/2011; 4(188):ra56. · 7.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The AKT protooncogene mediates many cellular processes involved in normal development and disease states such as cancer. The three structurally similar isoforms: AKT1, AKT2, and AKT3 exhibit both functional redundancy and isoform-specific functions; however the basis for their differential signalling remains unclear. Here we show that in vitro, purified AKT3 is ∼47-fold more active than AKT1 at phosphorylating peptide and protein substrates. Despite these marked variations in specific activity between the individual isoforms, a comprehensive analysis of phosphorylation of validated AKT substrates indicated only subtle differences in signalling via individual isoforms in vivo. Therefore, we hypothesise, at least in this model system, that relative tissue/cellular abundance, rather than specific activity, plays the dominant role in determining AKT substrate specificity in situ.
    Enzyme research. 01/2011; 2011:720985.
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    ABSTRACT: Loss of p53-dependent apoptosis contributes to the development of hematologic malignancies and failure to respond to treatment. Proapoptotic Bcl-2 family member Puma is essential for apoptosis in HoxB8-immortalized interleukin-3 (IL-3)-dependent myeloid cell lines (FDM cells) provoked by IL-3 deprivation. p53 and FoxO3a can transcriptionally regulate Puma. To investigate which transcriptional regulator is responsible for IL-3 deprivation-induced Puma expression and apoptosis, we generated wild-type (WT), p53(-/-), and FoxO3a(-/-) FDM cells and found that p53(-/-) but not FoxO3a(-/-) cells were protected against IL-3 withdrawal. Loss of p21(cip/waf), which is critical for p53-mediated cell-cycle arrest, afforded no protection against IL-3 deprivation. A survival advantage was also observed in untransformed p53(-/-) hematopoietic progenitor cells cultured in the presence or absence of cytokines. In response to IL-3 deprivation, increased Puma protein levels in p53(-/-) cells were substantially delayed compared with WT cells. Increased p53 transcriptional activity was detected after cytokine deprivation. This was substantially less than that induced by DNA damage and associated not with increased p53 protein levels but with loss of the p53 regulator, MDM2. Thus, we conclude that p53 protein is activated after IL-3 deprivation by loss of MDM2. Activated p53 transcriptionally up-regulates Puma, which initiates apoptosis.
    Blood 11/2009; 115(2):344-52. · 9.78 Impact Factor