Infoscience

Thesis

Role of RIP4 in lung adenocarcinoma differentiation

Various studies have attributed NF-kB activation to promote KRAS mediated non-small cell lung cancer progression. In order to identify key genes regulating NF-kB activation and cell survival in lung adenocarcinoma, a synthetic lethal partner screen for KRAS was conducted in cell lines expressing mutant or wildtype KRAS. This screen identified an important role of Receptor-interacting serine/threonine protein kinase 4 (RIP4) in KRAS mediated oncogenesis. But altering RIP4 expression did not affect the viability of KRAS mutant cells, however a novel role of RIP4 in maintaining tumor differentiation was observed. Loss of epithelial differentiation and extracellular matrix remodeling are known to facilitate cancer progression and are associated with poor prognosis in patients with lung cancer. Bioinformatics analyses of human lung adenocarcinoma samples showed that poorly differentiated tumors express low levels of RIP4, whereas high levels are associated with better overall survival. Interleukin 6 (IL6) signaling is activated in lung adenocarcinoma expressing oncogenic KRAS and contributes to cancer invasiveness. Knockdown of RIP4 using shRNA in vitro enhanced activation of IL-6 signaling and also the ability of the cells to invade through collagen. In contrast, overexpression of RIP4 inhibited IL6-mediated Signal Transducer and activator of Transcription 3 (STAT3) activation, which abrogated IL6-dependent induction of lysyl oxidase, a collagen cross-linking enzyme. Tumor-specific Rip4 knockdown in an autochthonous mouse model of lung adenocarcinoma initiated by Kras(G12D) expression with loss of p53, progressed to a poorly differentiated state marked by an increase in Hmga2, reduced Ttf1 and enrichment of genes regulating extracellular matrix (ECM) remodeling and JAK-STAT signaling. Activated STAT3 can enhance NF-kB activation by interacting with NF-kB and promoting its nuclear retention. Tumors with RIP4 knockdown also exhibited enhanced STAT3- NF-kB interaction suggesting a cross talk between the two pathways. Tail vein injections of cells overexpressing RIP4 showed a reduced potential to invade and form tumors. Analysis of factors regulating RIP4 expression revealed that RIP4 is induced in a p53 dependent manner in response to chemotherapy. Altering the induced RIP4 levels in vitro had a modest effect on chemotherapy induced cell death. Our work has identified that loss of RIP4 enhances IL6 signaling in lung cancer cells, promoting the expression of ECM remodeling genes and cancer dedifferentiation.

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