Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor and Notch Pathways Participate in the Tumor Suppressor Function of -Secretase

Department of Pathology, The Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21205, USA.
Journal of Biological Chemistry (Impact Factor: 4.57). 12/2007; 282(44):32264-73. DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M703649200
Source: PubMed


Gamma-secretase, a unique aspartyl protease, is required for the regulated intramembrane proteolysis of Notch and APP, pathways that are implicated, respectively, in the pathogenesis of cancer and Alzheimer disease. However, the mechanism whereby reduction of gamma-secretase causes tumors such as squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) remains poorly understood. Here, we demonstrate that gamma-secretase functions in epithelia as a tumor suppressor in an enzyme activity-dependent manner. Notch signaling is down-regulated and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is activated in SCC caused by genetic reduction of gamma-secretase. Moreover, the level of EGFR is inversely correlated with the level of gamma-secretase in fibroblasts, suggesting that the up-regulation of EGFR stimulates hyperproliferation in epithelia of mice with genetic reduction of gamma-secretase. Supporting this notion is our finding that the proliferative response of fibroblasts lacking gamma-secretase activity is more sensitive when challenged by either EGF or an inhibitor of EGFR as ompared with wild type cells. Interestingly, the up-regulation of EGFR is independent of Notch signaling, suggesting that the EGFR pathway functions in parallel with Notch in the tumorigenesis of SCC. Collectively, our results establish a novel mechanism linking the EGFR pathway to the tumor suppressor role of gamma-secretase and that mice with genetic reduction of gamma-secretase represent an excellent rodent model for clarifying pathogenesis of SCC and for testing therapeutic strategy to ameliorate this type of human cancer.

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    • "Thus, if GSIs show efficacy for cancer other indications, it may be because they synergistically alter multiple signaling pathways. It is also important to consider the findings that GSI based inhibition of Notch 1 and perhaps other substrates of γ-secretase, can actually promote oncogenic transformation in certain tissues such as the skin[61]. Thus, even if acute toxicities can be managed, there are concerns that GSI like many anti-cancer therapies could promote other cancers. "
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    ABSTRACT: γ-Secretase is a fascinating, multi-subunit, intramembrane cleaving protease that is now being considered as a therapeutic target for a number of diseases. Potent, orally bioavailable γ-secretase inhibitors (GSIs) have been developed and tested in humans with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and cancer. Preclinical studies also suggest the therapeutic potential for GSIs in other disease conditions. However, due to inherent mechanism based-toxicity of non-selective inhibition of γ-secretase, clinical development of GSIs will require empirical testing with careful evaluation of benefit versus risk. In addition to GSIs, compounds referred to as γ-secretase modulators (GSMs) remain in development as AD therapeutics. GSMs do not inhibit γ-secretase, but modulate γ-secretase processivity and thereby shift the profile of the secreted amyloid β peptides (Aβ) peptides produced. Although GSMs are thought to have an inherently safe mechanism of action, their effects on substrates other than the amyloid β protein precursor (APP) have not been extensively investigated. Herein, we will review the current state of development of GSIs and GSMs and explore pertinent biological and pharmacological questions pertaining to the use of these agents for select indications. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Intramembrane Proteases.
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    • "They observed that EGFR levels were robustly increased in fibroblasts deficient in both PS1 and PS2 and the stable transfection of wild-type PS1 but not PS2 corrected EGFR to levels comparable to PS +/+ cells (Repetto et al., 2007). Li and coworkers demonstrated that the levels of EGFR are inversely correlated with the level of γ-secretase in fibroblasts, suggesting that the up-regulation of EGFR stimulates hyperproliferation in epithelia of mice with genetic reduction of γ-secretase (Li et al., 2007). The EGFR pathway seems to have an important role in the development of the nervous system, promoting the growth and differentiation of neural stem cells (Currais et al., 2009). "
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    ABSTRACT: Presently, neurodegenerative diseases and cancer are the most clinically problematic age-related diseases worldwide. Although being distinct disorders, their developments share common cellular mechanisms. Oncogenesis and neurodegeneration arise from the deregulation of signaling pathways, as a consequence of the resulting imbalance in cellular homeostasis. The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) belongs to an important cellular signaling pathway, which regulates proliferation, differentiation, cell cycle and migration. As transcriptional targets of EGFR, the microRNAs-221/222 (miR-221/222) are important expression regulators. Dysfunctions in their networks are associated with cellular disruptions. The transcriptional activation of these microRNAs (miRNAs) seems to be involved in cell cycle, apoptosis, metastization, and in the acquisition of resistance to therapies. The up-regulation of miR-221/222 is associated with increased expression levels of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and repression of cell cycle inhibitors, which are key molecules in oncogenesis and neurodegeneration processes. The interaction loop between proliferative signaling pathways and miRNA expression could reveal new targets for controlling the molecular behavior of age-related diseases.
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    • "Hypoxia-induced increased motility and invasiveness requires Notch signaling, and activated Notch mimics hypoxia in the induction of EMT. In this process, Notch signaling controls Snail-1 expression by two distinct but synergistic mechanisms [115]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Historically, cell-signaling pathways have been studied as the compilation of isolated elements into a unique cascade that transmits extracellular stimuli to the tumor cell nucleus. Today, growing evidence supports the fact that intracellular drivers of tumor progression do not flow in a single linear pathway, but disseminate into multiple intracellular pathways. An improved understanding of the complexity of cancer depends on the elucidation of the underlying regulatory networks at the cellular and intercellular levels and in their temporal dimension. The high complexity of the intracellular cascades causes the complete inhibition of the growth of one tumor cell to be very unlikely, except in cases in which the so-called “oncogene addiction” is known to be a clear trigger for tumor catastrophe, such as in the case of gastrointestinal stromal tumors or chronic myeloid leukemia. In other words, the separation and isolation of the driver from the passengers is required to improve accuracy in cancer treatment. This review will summarize the signaling pathway crossroads that govern renal cell carcinoma proliferation and the emerging understanding of how these pathways facilitate tumor escape. We outline the available evidence supporting the putative links between different signaling pathways and how they may influence tumor proliferation, differentiation, apoptosis, angiogenesis, metabolism and invasiveness. The conclusion is that tumor cells may generate their own crossroads/crosstalk among signaling pathways, thereby reducing their dependence on stimulation of their physiologic pathways.
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