Protease-activated receptor 2 stabilizes Bcl-xL and regulates EGFR–targeted therapy response in colorectal cancer

Protease-activated receptor 2 stabilizes Bcl-xL and regulates EGFR–targeted therapy response in colorectal cancer

Abstract

The Bcl-2 homolog Bcl-xL is emerging as a key factor in tumorigenesis due to its prominent pro-survival and cell death-independent functions. However, the regulation of Bcl-xL by microenvironment and its implication in cancer therapy of colorectal carcinoma (CRC) are unclear. Here, we demonstrated that Bcl-xL expression was positively associated with protease-activated receptor 2 (PAR2) in CRC. Activation of PAR2 stabilized Bcl-xL protein in a proteasome-dependent manner, whereas E3 ligase RING finger protein 152 (RNF152) accelerated the ubiquitination and degradation of Bcl-xL. RNF152 silencing by specific siRNAs rescued the expression of Bcl-xL in PAR2-deficient cells. Moreover, RNF152 physically interacted with Bcl-xL, which was disturbed by PAR2 activation. Further studies with serial mutation of Bcl-xL revealed that phosphorylation of Bcl-xL at S145 reduced its binding affinity for RNF152 and stabilized Bcl-xL. Importantly, inhibition of PAR2 signaling by its gene silencing or specific chemical inhibitors increased apoptosis induced by different EGFR-targeted therapies. In patient-derived xenograft model, inhibition of PAR2 increased the response of CRC to different EGFR-targeted therapies. These results indicate that PAR2 stabilizes Bcl-xL by altering RNF152 signaling and that PAR2 inhibition sensitizes CRC to EGFR-targeted therapies in vivo.

Keywords: Bcl-xL; Colorectal cancer; EGFR; PAR2; RNF152.

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