Targeting the EGFR/PCNA signaling suppresses tumor growth of triple-negative breast cancer cells with cell-penetrating PCNA peptides.

Tyrosine 211 (Y211) phosphorylation of proliferation cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) coincides with pronounced cancer cell proliferation and correlates with poor survival of breast cancer patients. In epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI)-resistant cells, both nuclear EGFR (nEGFR) expression and PCNA Y211 phosphorylation are increased. Moreover, the resistance to EGFR TKI is a major clinical problem in treating EGFR-overexpressing triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). Thus, effective treatment to combat resistance is urgently needed. Here, we show that treatment of cell-penetrating PCNA peptide (CPPP) inhibits growth and induces apoptosis of human TNBC cells. The Y211F CPPP specifically targets EGFR and competes directly for PCNA tyrosine Y211 phosphorylation and prevents nEGFR from binding PCNA in vivo; it also suppresses tumor growth by sensitizing EGFR TKI resistant cells, which have enhanced nEGFR function and abrogated classical EGFR membrane signaling. Furthermore, we identify an active motif of CPPP, RFLNFF (RF6 CPPP), which is necessary and sufficient to inhibit TKI-resistant TNBC cell growth of orthotopic implanted tumor in mice. Finally, the activity of its synthetic retro-inverted derivative, D-RF6 CPPP, on an equimolar basis, is more potent than RF6 CPPP. Our study reveals a drug candidate with translational potential for the future development of safe and effective therapeutic for EGFR TKI resistance in TNBC.
AuthorsYung-Luen Yu, Ruey-Hwang Chou, Jia-Hong Liang, Wei-Jung Chang, Kuo-Jung Su, Yen-Ju Tseng, Wei-Chien Huang, Shao-Chun Wang, Mien-Chie Hung
JournalPloS one (PLoS One) Vol. 8 Issue 4 Pg. e61362 ( 2013) ISSN: 1932-6203 [Electronic] United States
PMID23593472 (Publication Type: Journal Article, Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't)
Chemical References
  • Cell-Penetrating Peptides
  • Proliferating Cell Nuclear Antigen
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • EGFR protein, human
  • Receptor, Epidermal Growth Factor
  • Amino Acid Motifs
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Breast Neoplasms (drug therapy, pathology)
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation (drug effects)
  • Cell-Penetrating Peptides (chemistry, pharmacology, therapeutic use)
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm (drug effects)
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy
  • Phosphorylation (drug effects)
  • Proliferating Cell Nuclear Antigen (chemistry, metabolism)
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors (pharmacology)
  • Receptor, Epidermal Growth Factor (metabolism)
  • Signal Transduction (drug effects)
  • Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays

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