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Modulating TAK1 Expression Inhibits YAP and TAZ Oncogenic Functions in Pancreatic Cancer


Santoro, Raffaela; Zanotto, Marco; Simionato, Francesca; Zecchetto, Camilla; Merz, Valeria; Cavallini, Chiara; Piro, Geny; Sabbadini, Fabio; Boschi, Federico; Scarpa, Aldo; Melisi, Davide (2020). Modulating TAK1 Expression Inhibits YAP and TAZ Oncogenic Functions in Pancreatic Cancer. Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, 19(1):247-257.

Abstract

YAP and TAZ are central determinants of malignancy; however, their functions remain still undruggable. We identified TGFβ-activated kinase 1 (TAK1) as a central hub integrating the most relevant signals sustaining pancreatic cancer aggressiveness and chemoresistance. Glycogen synthase kinase (GSK)3 is known to stabilize TAK1, and its inhibition causes a reduction in TAK1 levels. Here, we hypothesized that TAK1 could sustain YAP/TAZ program, and thus, modulation of TAK1 expression through the inhibition of GSK3 could impair YAP/TAZ functions in pancreatic cancer.Differentially expressed transcripts between pancreatic cancer cells expressing scramble or TAK1-specific shRNA were annotated for functional interrelatedness by ingenuity pathway analysis. TAK1 expression was modulated by using different GSK3 inhibitors, including LY2090314. In vivo activity of LY2090314 alone or in combination with nab-paclitaxel was evaluated in an orthotopic nude mouse model.Differential gene expression profiling revealed significant association of TAK1 expression with HIPPO and ubiquitination pathways. We measured a significant downregulation of YAP/TAZ and their regulated genes in shTAK1 cells. TAK1 prevented YAP/TAZ proteasomal degradation in a kinase independent manner, through a complex with TRAF6, thereby fostering their K63-ubiquitination versus K48-ubiquitination. Pharmacologic modulation of TAK1 by using GSK3 inhibitors significantly decreased YAP/TAZ levels and suppressed their target genes and oncogenic functions. In vivo, LY2090314 plus nab-paclitaxel significantly prolonged mice survival duration.Our study demonstrates a unique role for TAK1 in controlling YAP/TAZ in pancreatic cancer. LY2090314 is a novel agent that warrants further clinical development in combination with nab-paclitaxel for the treatment of pancreatic cancer.

Abstract

YAP and TAZ are central determinants of malignancy; however, their functions remain still undruggable. We identified TGFβ-activated kinase 1 (TAK1) as a central hub integrating the most relevant signals sustaining pancreatic cancer aggressiveness and chemoresistance. Glycogen synthase kinase (GSK)3 is known to stabilize TAK1, and its inhibition causes a reduction in TAK1 levels. Here, we hypothesized that TAK1 could sustain YAP/TAZ program, and thus, modulation of TAK1 expression through the inhibition of GSK3 could impair YAP/TAZ functions in pancreatic cancer.Differentially expressed transcripts between pancreatic cancer cells expressing scramble or TAK1-specific shRNA were annotated for functional interrelatedness by ingenuity pathway analysis. TAK1 expression was modulated by using different GSK3 inhibitors, including LY2090314. In vivo activity of LY2090314 alone or in combination with nab-paclitaxel was evaluated in an orthotopic nude mouse model.Differential gene expression profiling revealed significant association of TAK1 expression with HIPPO and ubiquitination pathways. We measured a significant downregulation of YAP/TAZ and their regulated genes in shTAK1 cells. TAK1 prevented YAP/TAZ proteasomal degradation in a kinase independent manner, through a complex with TRAF6, thereby fostering their K63-ubiquitination versus K48-ubiquitination. Pharmacologic modulation of TAK1 by using GSK3 inhibitors significantly decreased YAP/TAZ levels and suppressed their target genes and oncogenic functions. In vivo, LY2090314 plus nab-paclitaxel significantly prolonged mice survival duration.Our study demonstrates a unique role for TAK1 in controlling YAP/TAZ in pancreatic cancer. LY2090314 is a novel agent that warrants further clinical development in combination with nab-paclitaxel for the treatment of pancreatic cancer.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Veterinärwissenschaftliches Institut > Department of Molecular Mechanisms of Disease
07 Faculty of Science > Department of Molecular Mechanisms of Disease
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Oncology
Life Sciences > Cancer Research
Language:English
Date:January 2020
Deposited On:16 Mar 2021 16:26
Last Modified:25 Jun 2024 01:38
Publisher:American Association for Cancer Research
ISSN:1535-7163
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-19-0270
PubMed ID:31562256
  • Content: Published Version