A Short Nur77-Derived Peptide Converts Bcl-2 from a Protector to a Killer

Cancer Center, Burnham Institute for Medical Research, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.
Cancer cell (Impact Factor: 23.52). 11/2008; 14(4):285-98. DOI: 10.1016/j.ccr.2008.09.002
Source: PubMed


Bcl-2 can be converted into a proapoptotic molecule by nuclear receptor Nur77. However, the development of Bcl-2 converters as anticancer therapeutics has not been explored. Here we report the identification of a Nur77-derived Bcl-2-converting peptide with 9 amino acids (NuBCP-9) and its enantiomer, which induce apoptosis of cancer cells in vitro and in animals. The apoptotic effect of NuBCPs and their activation of Bax are not inhibited but rather potentiated by Bcl-2. NuBCP-9 and its enantiomer bind to the Bcl-2 loop, which shares the characteristics of structurally adaptable regions with many cancer-associated and signaling proteins. NuBCP-9s act as molecular switches to dislodge the Bcl-2 BH4 domain, exposing its BH3 domain, which in turn blocks the activity of antiapoptotic Bcl-X(L).

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    • "Most of the agents promote nuclear export of NR4A1. NR4A1-derived peptide (NuBCP-9) and its enantiomer (D-NuBCP- 9, now commercially available) have been identified as antagonizing the survival function of Bcl-2 and inducing apoptosis of cancer cells in vitro and in animals [30]. Paclitaxel, a chemotherapeutic agent, has also been reported to mimic the effect of NR4A1 on Bcl-2 [31]. "
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    ABSTRACT: The orphan nuclear receptor NR4A1/Nur77/TR3/NGFIB acts primarily as a transcription factor to regulate the expression of multiple genes. However, increasing research attention has recently been given to non-genomic activities of NR4A1. The first description of a non-genomic action of NR4A1 referred to the conversion of anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 into a pro-apoptotic protein by direct interaction with NR4A1. In response to certain apoptotic stimuli, NR4A1 translocates from the nucleus to the mitochondrial outer membrane (MOM) where it associates with Bcl-2 and thereby causes apoptosis. Afterwards, it appeared that NR4A1 could also bind and convert other anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 family members. The latest studies indicate a significant role of NR4A1 in the process of autophagy. For example, a new NR4A1-mediated pathway specific for melanoma cells has been described where NR4A1 interacts with the adenine nucleotide translocase 1 (ANT1) on the mitochondrial inner membrane (MIM) leading to induction of the autophagy pathway. Moreover, NR4A1 interaction with cytoplasmic p53 may also contribute to the induction of autophagy. In addition to mitochondria, NR4A1 could be translocated to the outer membrane of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and associate with Bcl-2 or translocon-associated protein subunit γ (TRAPγ) causing ER stress-induced apoptosis. NR4A1 also contributes to the proteasomal degradation of β-catenin in colon cancer cells in vitro and in vivo, as well as to the stabilization of hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) under non-hypoxic conditions. This review summarizes research findings on non-genomic effects of NR4A1 in normal and cancer cells.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2014 · Steroids
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    • "Overexpression of NR4A1 resulted in increased survival and proliferation of human umbilical vein endothelial cells [14]. On the other hand, an apoptotic effect was associated with a mitochondrial localization of NR4A1, where it converted BCL-2 from an anti- to a pro-apoptotic protein [15] [16] [17]. Moreover, it has been show that NR4A1 is involved in T cell receptors-mediated apoptosis in immature thymocytes [18] [19] and roles for NR4A1 has also been described in metabolism [20], steroidogenesis [21] [22], as well as in suppression of smooth muscle cells proliferation by upregulating p27kip1 [23] [24] [25]. "
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    ABSTRACT: The fibroblast mitogen platelet-derived growth factor -BB (PDGF-BB) induces a transient expression of the orphan nuclear receptor NR4A1 (also named Nur77, TR3 or NGFIB). The aim of the present study was to investigate the pathways through which NR4A1 is induced by PDGF-BB and its functional role. We demonstrate that in PDGF-BB stimulated NIH3T3 cells, the MEK1/2 inhibitor CI-1040 strongly represses NR4A1 expression, whereas Erk5 downregulation delays the expression, but does not block it. Moreover, we report that treatment with the NF-κB inhibitor BAY11-7082 suppresses NR4A1 mRNA and protein expression. The majority of NR4A1 in NIH3T3 was found to be localized in the cytoplasm and only a fraction was translocated to the nucleus after continued PDGF-BB treatment. Silencing NR4A1 slightly increased the proliferation rate of NIH3T3 cells; however, it did not affect the chemotactic or survival abilities conferred by PDGF-BB. Moreover, overexpression of NR4A1 promoted anchorage-independent growth of NIH3T3 cells and the glioblastoma cell lines U-105MG and U-251MG. Thus, whereas NR4A1, induced by PDGF-BB, suppresses cell growth on a solid surface, it increases anchorage-independent growth.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2014 · PLoS ONE
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    • "Furthermore, cleavage of BCL2 by caspases enhances the activation of downstream caspases and contributes to amplification of the caspase proteolytic cascade [55]. BCL2 can also be converted into a proapoptotic protein by the nuclear receptor subfamily 4, group A, member 1 (NR4A1) [56,57]. According to our previously published results, BCL2L12 mRNA expression is also associated with unfavorable prognosis in NPC patients and may represent a novel molecular biomarker for the prediction of short-term relapse in NPC. "
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    ABSTRACT: Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is a highly metastatic epithelial malignancy showing high prevalence in Southeast Asia and North Africa. The BCL2-associated X (BAX) gene encodes the most important pro-apoptotic member of the BCL2 family. We have recently shown that BCL2 and BCL2L12, two other members of the same apoptosis-related family, possess significant prognostic value in NPC. The objective of the current study was to analyze BAX mRNA expression in nasopharyngeal biopsies of NPC patients, and to assess its prognostic potential in this disease. Total RNA was isolated from 88 malignant and 9 hyperplastic nasopharyngeal biopsies, resected from Tunisian patients. After cDNA synthesis by reverse transcription of polyadenylated RNA, BAX mRNA expression was analyzed using a highly sensitive quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) method. Lower BAX mRNA levels were detected in NPC biopsies than in hyperplastic nasopharyngeal samples. BAX mRNA expression status was associated with low tumor extent, negative regional lymph node status, and absence of distant metastases. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis demonstrated that patients with BAX mRNA-positive NPC have significantly longer disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS). In accordance with these findings, Cox regression analysis revealed that BAX mRNA expression can be considered as a favorable prognostic indicator of DFS and OS in NPC, independent of their gender, age, tumor histology, tumor extent, and nodal status. Furthermore, NPC patients without distant metastases are less likely to relapse when their primary tumor is BAX mRNA-positive, compared to metastasis-free patients with a BAX-negative nasopharyngeal malignancy. This is the first study examining the potential clinical utility of BAX as a prognostic tumor biomarker in NPC. We provide evidence that BAX mRNA expression can be considered as an independent favorable prognostic indicator of DFS and OS in NPC.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2013 · BMC Cancer
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