Balancing life with glycoconjugates: Monitoring unfolded protein response-mediated anti-angiogenic action of tunicamycin by Raman spectroscopy

Department of Chemistry and Physics, Purdue University Calumet, Hammond, IN 46323-2094, USA.
Pure and Applied Chemistry (Impact Factor: 2.49). 01/2012; 84(9):1907-1918. DOI: 10.1351/PAC-CON-12-01-06
Source: PubMed


Asparagine-linked protein glycosylation is a hallmark for glycoprotein structure and function. Its impairment by tunicamycin [a competitive inhibitor of N-acetylglucosaminyl 1-phosphate transferase (GPT)] has been known to inhibit neo-vascularization (i.e., angiogenesis) in humanized breast tumor due to an induction of ER stress-mediated unfolded protein response (UPR). The studies presented here demonstrate that (i) tunicamycin (i) inhibits capillary endothelial cell proliferation in a dose dependent manner; (ii) treated cells are incapable of forming colonies upon its withdrawal; and (iii) tunicamycin treatment causes nuclear fragmentation. Tunicamycin-induced ER stress-mediated UPR event in these cells was studied with the aid of Raman spectroscopy, in particular, the interpretation of bands at 1672, 1684 and 1694 cm(-1), which are characteristics of proteins and originate from C=O stretching vibrations of mono-substituted amides. In tunicamycin-treated cells these bands decreased in area as follows: at 1672 cm(-1) by 41.85% at 3 h and 55.39% at 12 h; at 1684 cm(-1) by 20.63% at 3 h and 40.08% at 12 h; and also at 1994 cm(-1) by 33.33% at 3 h and 32.92% at 12 h, respectively. Thus, in the presence of tunicamycin, newly synthesized protein chains fail to arrange properly into their final secondary and/or tertiary structures, and the random coils they form had undergone further degradation.

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    ABSTRACT: Studies from our laboratory have explained that breast tumor progression can be attenuated by targeting the N-linked glycoproteins of the tumor microvasculature and that of tumor cells alike with a protein N-glycosylation inhibitor, tunicamycin. Absence of N-glycosylation leads to an accumulation of un- or mis-folded proteins in the ER and the cell develops “ER stress”. The result is cell cycle arrest, and induction of apoptosis mediated by unfolded protein response (upr) signaling. Tunicamycin inhibited in vitro and in vivo (Matrigel™ implants in athymic nude mice) angiogenesis in a dose dependent manner. The action is irreversible and survived under tumor microenvironment, i.e., in the presence of FGF-2 or VEGF or higher serum concentration. Importantly, tunicamycin prevented the progression of double negative (ER−/PR−/Her2+) and triple negative (ER−/PR−/Her2−) breast tumors by ~55 to 65 % in 3 weeks in athymic nude mice [Balb/c(nu/nu)]. Analyses of paraffin sections exhibited “ER stress” in both microvasculature and in tumor tissue.
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