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Cancer Res. 2008 Aug 15;68(16):6516-23. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-07-6188.

S6K1 plays a key role in glial transformation.

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  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, University of California, San Francisco, California 94143, USA.


The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a nutrient and ATP sensor suggested to play an important role in tumorigenesis, particularly in the setting of PTEN loss or activated Akt/PKB. Of mTOR's two known effectors, eIF4E has been implicated in tumorigenesis, whereas the role of S6 kinase (S6K1) in transformation is less understood. To assess the contribution of S6K1 to the transformed phenotype, we pharmacologically and genetically manipulated the mTOR-S6K pathway in glioma cells and monitored its effects on growth in soft agar, a hallmark of cellular transformation, and also assessed in vivo intracranial growth. Anchorage-independent growth by HRas(V12)-transformed human astrocytes as well as by U251 and U373 human glioma cells was inhibited by pharmacologic mTOR inhibition. Similarly, short hairpin RNA-mediated suppression of mTOR also reduced anchorage-independent growth of glioma cell lines. Expression of wild-type eIF4E in rapamycin-treated E6/E7/hTert/HRas(V12) and U373 cells failed to rescue colony formation, although expression of wild-type S6K1 or rapamycin-resistant S6K1 in rapamycin-treated U373 and U251 provided partial rescue. Consistent with the latter observation, small interfering RNA-mediated suppression of S6K1 in HRas(V12)-transformed human astrocytes, U251, and U373 cells resulted in a significant loss of anchorage-independent growth. Furthermore, we found that in vivo short hairpin RNA-mediated suppression of S6K1 in HRas(V12)-transformed human astrocytes reduced intracranial tumor size, in association with reduced tumor levels of phosphorylated ribosomal protein S6. These findings implicate the mTOR-S6K pathway as a critical mediator of glial cell transformation.

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