Transforming growth factor (TGF)-?-activating kinase 1 (TAK1) is a serine/threonine kinase which is frequently associated with human cancer progression. However, its functional role in tumorigenesis is still controversial. Here, we report that TAK1 enhances the oncogenic capacity of ovarian cancer cells through the activation of NF-?B signaling. We found that TAK1 is frequently upregulated and significantly associated with high-grade and metastatic ovarian cancers. Mechanistic studies showed that Ser412 phosphorylation is required for TAK1 in activating NF-?B signaling and promotes aggressiveness of ovarian cancer cells. Conversely, suppression of TAK1 activity by point mutation at Ser412, RNAi mediated gene knockdown or TAK1 specific inhibitor ((5Z) -7-Oxozeaenol) remarkably impairs tumor growth and metastasis in ovarian cancer in vitro and in vivo. Our study underscores the importance of targeting TAK1 as a promising therapeutic approach to counteract the ovarian cancer progression.
Recent evidence has suggested that AMPK activators may be applied as therapeutic drugs in suppressing cancer cell growth. However, the molecular mechanism of their suppressive function in cancer cells is still unclear. Here we show that AMPK activators impair cervical cancer cell growth through the reduction of DVL3, a positive regulator in Wnt/?-catenin signaling and an oncogenic player in cervical cancer tumorigenesis. By western blot and immunohistochemical analyses, we demonstrated that DVL3 was frequently upregulated and significantly associated with elevated ?-catenin (P = 0.009) and CyclinD1 (P = 0.009) expressions in cervical cancer. Enforced expression of DVL3 elevated ?-catenin and augmented cervical cancer cell growth, verifying that DVL3-mediated Wnt/?-catenin activation is involved in cervical cancer oncogenesis. On the other aspect, we noted that the cervical cancer cell growth was remarkably suppressed by AMPK activators and such cell growth inhibition was in concomitant with the reduction of DVL3 protein level in dose- and time-dependent manners. Besides, impaired mTOR signaling activity also reduced DVL3 expression. In contrast, co-treatment with Compound C (AMPK inhibitor) could significantly abrogate metformin induced DVL3 reduction. In addition, co-treatment with AM114 or MG132 (proteosomal inhibitors) could partially restore DVL3 expression under the treatment of metformin. Further in vivo ubiquitination assay revealed that metformin could reduce DVL3 by ubiquitin/proteasomal degradation. To our knowledge, this is the first report showing the probable molecular mechanisms of that the AMPK activators suppress cervical cancer cell growth by impairing DVL3 protein synthesis via AMPK/mTOR signaling and/or partially promoting the proteasomal degradation of DVL3.
Ovarian cancer is a highly lethal disease with poor prognosis and especially in high-grade tumor. Emerging evidence has reported that aberrant upregulation and activation of GRB7, ERK as well as FOXM1 are closely associated with aggresivenesss of human cancers. However, the interplay between these factors in the pathogenesis of human cancers still remains unclear. In this study, we found that GRB7 (P<0.0001), ERK phosphorylation (P<0.0001) and FOXM1 (P = 0.001) were frequently increased and associated with high-grade tumors, as well as a high tendency in association with advanced stage ovarian cancer by immunohistochemical analysis. Intriguingly, the expressions of GRB7 (P<0.0001), ERK phosphorylation (P<0.001) and FOXM1 (P<0.001) showed a significant stepwise increase pattern along Grade 1 to Grade 3 ovarian cancers. Biochemical studies using western blot analysis demonstrated that enforced expression or knockdown of GRB7 showed GRB7 could elevate the levels of ERK phosphorylation and FOXM1, whereas enforced expression of FOXM1 could not alter levels of GRB7 and ERK phosphorylation. But inhibition of ERK signaling by U0126 or PD98059 could reduce the level of FOXM1 in GRB7-overexpressing ovarian cancer cells, suggesting that GRB7, ERK and FOXM1 are regulated orderly. Moreover, inhibition of ERK activity by U0126 or PD98059, or decreased FOXM1 expression by Thiostrepton significantly inhibited cell migration/invasion, tumor growth in vitro and in vivo. Collectively, our findings confer that targeting GRB7/ERK/FOXM1 signaling cascade may be a promising molecular therapeutic choice in combating ovarian cancer.
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