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Oncogene. 2015 Jul;34(27):3605-16. doi: 10.1038/onc.2014.296. Epub 2014 Sep 29.

p53 protein aggregation promotes platinum resistance in ovarian cancer.

Author information

1
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA.
2
Department of Pharmacology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA.

Abstract

High-grade serous ovarian carcinoma (HGSOC), the most lethal gynecological cancer, often leads to chemoresistant diseases. The p53 protein is a key transcriptional factor regulating cellular homeostasis. A majority of HGSOCs have inactive p53 because of genetic mutations. However, genetic mutation is not the only cause of p53 inactivation. The aggregation of p53 protein has been discovered in different types of cancers and may be responsible for impairing the normal transcriptional activation and pro-apoptotic functions of p53. We demonstrated that in a unique population of HGSOC cancer cells with cancer stem cell properties, p53 protein aggregation is associated with p53 inactivation and platinum resistance. When these cancer stem cells differentiated into their chemosensitive progeny, they lost tumor-initiating capacity and p53 aggregates. In addition to the association of p53 aggregation and chemoresistance in HGSOC cells, we further demonstrated that the overexpression of a p53-positive regulator, p14ARF, inhibited MDM2-mediated p53 degradation and led to the imbalance of p53 turnover that promoted the formation of p53 aggregates. With in vitro and in vivo models, we demonstrated that the inhibition of p14ARF could suppress p53 aggregation and sensitize cancer cells to platinum treatment. Moreover, by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis and mass spectrometry we discovered that the aggregated p53 may function uniquely by interacting with proteins that are critical for cancer cell survival and tumor progression. Our findings help us understand the poor chemoresponse of a subset of HGSOC patients and suggest p53 aggregation as a new marker for chemoresistance. Our findings also suggest that inhibiting p53 aggregation can reactivate p53 pro-apoptotic function. Therefore, p53 aggregation is a potential therapeutic target for reversing chemoresistance. This is paramount for improving ovarian cancer patients' responses to chemotherapy, and thus increasing their survival rate.

PMID:
25263447
DOI:
10.1038/onc.2014.296
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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