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Oncogene. 2019 Jun;38(26):5174-5190. doi: 10.1038/s41388-019-0784-8. Epub 2019 Mar 26.

Targeting AU-rich element-mediated mRNA decay with a truncated active form of the zinc-finger protein TIS11b/BRF1 impairs major hallmarks of mammary tumorigenesis.

Author information

1
Univ. Grenoble Alpes, CEA, INSERM, Biosciences and Biotechnology Institute of Grenoble, Biology of Cancer and Infection UMR_S 1036, 38000, Grenoble, France.
2
Inovarion, Paris, France.
3
Univ. Grenoble Alpes, CEA, INSERM, Biosciences and Biotechnology Institute of Grenoble, Biology of Cancer and Infection UMR_S 1036, 38000, Grenoble, France. nadia.cherradi@cea.fr.

Abstract

Altered expression of regulatory RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) in cancer leads to abnormal expression of mRNAs encoding many factors involved in cancer hallmarks. While conventional anticancer therapies usually target one pathway at a time, targeting key RBP would affect multiple genes and thus overcome drug resistance. Among the Tristetraprolin family of RBP, TIS11b/BRF1/ZFP36L1 mediates mRNA decay through binding to Adenylate/Uridylate (AU-rich elements) in mRNA 3'-untranslated region and recruitment of mRNA degradation enzymes. Here, we show that TIS11b is markedly underexpressed in three breast cancer cell lines, as well as in breast tumor samples. We hypothesized that restoring intracellular TIS11b levels could impair cancer cell phenotypic traits. We thus generated a derivative of TIS11b called R9-ZnCS334D, by combining N-terminal domain deletion, serine-to-aspartate substitution at position 334 to enhance the function of the protein and fusion to the cell-penetrating peptide polyarginine R9. R9-ZnCS334D not only blunted secretion of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) but also inhibited proliferation, migration, invasion, and anchorage-independent growth of murine 4T1 or human MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells. Moreover, R9-ZnCS334D prevented endothelial cell organization into vessel-like structures, suggesting that it could potentially target various cell types within the tumor microenvironment. In vivo, injection of R9-ZnCS334D in 4T1 tumors impaired tumor growth, decreased tumor hypoxia, and expression of the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) markers Snail, Vimentin, and N-cadherin. R9-ZnCS334D also hindered the expression of chemokines and proteins involved in cancer-related inflammation and invasion including Fractalkine (CX3CL1), SDF-1 (CXCL12), MCP-1 (CCL2), NOV (CCN3), and Pentraxin-3 (PTX3). Collectively, our data indicate that R9-ZnCS334D counteracts multiple traits of breast cancer cell aggressiveness and suggest that this novel protein could serve as the basis for innovative multi-target therapies in cancer.

PMID:
30914800
DOI:
10.1038/s41388-019-0784-8

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