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Oncogene. 2005 Oct 27;24(47):7084-93.

Lysophosphatidic acid and endothelin-induced proliferation of ovarian cancer cell lines is mitigated by neutralization of granulin-epithelin precursor (GEP), a prosurvival factor for ovarian cancer.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute/National Institutes of Health Research Scholars Program, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA.


Granulin-epithelin precursor (GEP/progranulin) is an autocrine growth factor for ovarian cancer. We examined the production and function of GEP and report that: (1) GEP production is regulated by endothelin (ET-1), lysophosphatidic acid (LPA), and cAMP; (2) cAMP signals GEP production through exchange protein activated by cAMP (EPAC); (3) ET-1 and cAMP/EPAC induce GEP through ERK1/2; and (4) neutralization of GEP results in apoptosis. Exposure of HEY-A8 and OVCAR3 ovarian cancer cells to LPA and ET-1 yielded GEP production and secretion in a dose- and time-dependent fashion; neither stimulated significant concentrations of cAMP directly. Stimulation of cAMP production with pertussis and cholera toxin, or forskolin induced GEP in a PKA-independent fashion. EPAC, an intracellular cAMP receptor, is activated specifically by the cAMP analog, 8-CPT-2'-O-Me-cAMP (8-CPT); 8-CPT treatment stimulated GEP production and secretion. The MEK inhibitor, U0126, abrogated GEP production in response to ET-1 and 8-CPT, confirming involvement of MAPK. A partial inhibition of basal and stimulated GEP production was observed when cells were treated with a internal calcium chelator, BAPTA. Neutralizing anti-GEP antibody reversed basal as well as LPA, ET-1 and 8-CPT-induced ovarian cancer cell growth and induced apoptosis as demonstrated by caspase-3 and PARP cleavage, DNA fragmentation, and nuclear condensation. These results indicate that GEP is a growth and survival factor for ovarian cancer, induced by LPA and ET-1 and cAMP/EPAC through ERK1/2.

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