Send to

Choose Destination
Cell Oncol (Dordr). 2017 Dec;40(6):549-561. doi: 10.1007/s13402-017-0343-7. Epub 2017 Aug 3.

Increased EGFR expression induced by a novel oncogene, CUG2, confers resistance to doxorubicin through Stat1-HDAC4 signaling.

Author information

BK21+, Department of Cogno-Mechatronics Engineering, Pusan National University, Busan, 46241, Republic of Korea.
Department of Nanoenergy Engineering, Pusan National University, Busan, 46241, Republic of Korea.
Department of Optics & Mechatronics Engineering, Convergence Research Center of 3D Laser-Aided Innovative Manufacturing Technology, Pusan National University, Busan, 46241, Republic of Korea.
Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Thaksin University, Phatthalung, 93210, Thailand.
Department of Biological Sciences, Dong-A University, Busan, 49315, Republic of Korea.
Department of Toxicology, University Medical Center, 55131, Mainz, Germany.
Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, T2N4N1, Canada.
BK21+, Department of Cogno-Mechatronics Engineering, Pusan National University, Busan, 46241, Republic of Korea.



Previously, it has been found that the cancer upregulated gene 2 (CUG2) and the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) both contribute to drug resistance of cancer cells. Here, we explored whether CUG2 may exert its anticancer drug resistance by increasing the expression of EGFR.


EGFR expression was assessed using Western blotting, immunofluorescence and capacitance assays in A549 lung cancer and immortalized bronchial BEAS-2B cells, respectively, stably transfected with a CUG2 expression vector (A549-CUG2; BEAS-CUG2) or an empty control vector (A549-Vec; BEAS-Vec). After siRNA-mediated EGFR, Stat1 and HDAC4 silencing, antioxidant and multidrug resistance protein and mRNA levels were assessed using Western blotting and RT-PCR. In addition, the respective cells were treated with doxorubicin after which apoptosis and reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels were measured. Stat1 acetylation was assessed by immunoprecipitation.


We found that exogenous CUG2 overexpression induced EGFR upregulation in A549 and BEAS-2B cells, whereas EGFR silencing sensitized these cells to doxorubicin-induced apoptosis. In addition, we found that exogenous CUG2 overexpression reduced the formation of ROS during doxorubicin treatment by enhancing the expression of antioxidant and multidrug resistant proteins such as MnSOD, Foxo1, Foxo4, MRP2 and BCRP, whereas EGFR silencing congruently increased the levels of ROS by decreasing the expression of these proteins. We also found that EGFR silencing and its concomitant Akt, ERK, JNK and p38 MAPK inhibition resulted in a decreased Stat1 phosphorylation and, thus, a decreased activation. Since also acetylation can affect Stat1 activation via a phospho-acetyl switch, HDAC inhibition may sensitize cells to doxorubicin-induced apoptosis. Interestingly, we found that exogenous CUG2 overexpression upregulated HDAC4, but not HDAC2 or HDAC3. Conversely, we found that HDAC4 silencing sensitized the cells to doxorubicin resistance by decreasing Stat1 phosphorylation and EGFR expression, thus indicating an interplay between HDAC4, Stat1 and EGFR.


Taken together, we conclude that CUG2-induced EGFR upregulation confers doxorubicin resistance to lung (cancer) cells through Stat1-HDAC4 signaling.


CUG2; Drug resistance; EGFR; HDAC4; Stat1

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Springer
Loading ...
Support Center