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Cancer Res. 2008 Mar 1;68(5):1254-60. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-07-1719. Epub 2008 Feb 22.

Translation inhibitor Pdcd4 is targeted for degradation during tumor promotion.

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  • 1Laboratory of Cancer Prevention, National Cancer Institute, Frederick, MD 21702, USA.


Inactivation of tumor suppressors is among the rate-limiting steps in carcinogenesis that occur during the tumor promotion stage. The translation inhibitor programmed cell death 4 (Pdcd4) suppresses tumorigenesis and invasion. Although Pdcd4 is not mutationally inactivated in human cancer, the mechanisms controlling Pdcd4 inactivation during tumorigenesis remain elusive. We report that tumor promoter 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate exposure decreases protein levels of Pdcd4 in mouse skin papillomas and keratinocytes as well as in human HEK293 cells. This decrease is attributable to increased proteasomal degradation of Pdcd4 and is mediated by protein kinase C-dependent activation of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase-Akt-mammalian target of rapamycin-p70(S6K) and mitogen-activated protein/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) kinase (MEK)-ERK signaling. Both Akt and p70(S6K) phosphorylate Pdcd4, allowing for binding of the E3-ubiquitin ligase beta-TrCP and consequently ubiquitylation. MEK-ERK signaling on the other hand facilitates the subsequent proteasomal degradation. We further show that Pdcd4 protein levels in vivo are limiting for tumor formation, establishing Pdcd4 as a haploinsufficient tumor suppressor in Pdcd4-deficient mice. Thus, because endogenous Pdcd4 levels are limiting for tumorigenesis, inhibiting signaling to Pdcd4 degradation may prove a valid strategy for cancer prevention and intervention.

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