Bisphosphorylated PEA-15 sensitizes ovarian cancer cells to paclitaxel by impairing the microtubule-destabilizing effect of SCLIP.
Xie X., Bartholomeusz C., Ahmed AA., Kazansky A., Diao L., Baggerly KA., Hortobagyi GN., Ueno NT.
Paclitaxel is a standard chemotherapeutic agent for ovarian cancer. PEA-15 (phosphoprotein enriched in astrocytes-15 kDa) regulates cell proliferation, autophagy, apoptosis, and glucose metabolism and also mediates AKT-dependent chemoresistance in breast cancer. The functions of PEA-15 are tightly regulated by its phosphorylation status at Ser104 and Ser116. However, the effect of PEA-15 phosphorylation status on chemosensitivity of cancer cells remains unknown. Here, we tested the hypothesis that PEA-15 phosphorylated at both Ser104 and Ser116 (pPEA-15) sensitizes ovarian cancer cells to paclitaxel. We first found that knockdown of PEA-15 in PEA-15-high expressing HEY and OVTOKO ovarian cancer cells resulted in paclitaxel resistance, whereas re-expression of PEA-15 in these cells led to paclitaxel sensitization. We next found that SKOV3.ip1-DD cells (expressing phosphomimetic PEA-15) were more sensitive to paclitaxel than SKOV3.ip1-AA cells (expressing nonphosphorylatable PEA-15). Compared with SKOV3.ip1-vector and SKOV3.ip1-AA cells, SKOV3.ip1-DD cells displayed reduced cell viability, inhibited anchorage-independent growth, and augmented apoptosis when treated with paclitaxel. Furthermore, HEY and OVTOKO cells displayed enhanced paclitaxel sensitivity when transiently overexpressing phosphomimetic PEA-15 and reduced paclitaxel sensitivity when transiently overexpressing nonphosphorylatable PEA-15. These results indicate that pPEA-15 sensitizes ovarian cancer cells to paclitaxel. cDNA microarray analysis suggested that SCLIP (SCG10-like protein), a microtubule-destabilizing protein, is involved in pPEA-15-mediated chemosensitization. We found that reduced expression and possibly posttranslational modification of SCLIP following paclitaxel treatment impaired the microtubule-destabilizing effect of SCLIP, thereby promoting induction of mitotic arrest and apoptosis by paclitaxel. Our findings highlight the importance of pPEA-15 as a promising target for improving the efficacy of paclitaxel-based therapy in ovarian cancer.