The functional role of the tumor suppressor MMAC/PTEN in glioblastoma multiforme and prostate cancer
Investigations into the molecular basis of glioblastoma multiforme led to the identification of a putative tumor suppressor gene, MMAC/ PTEN. Initial studies implicated MMAC/PTEN in many different tumor types, and identified a protein phosphatase motif in its sequence. This project aimed to identify the biological and biochemical functions of MMAC/PTEN by transiently expressing the gene in cancer cells that lack a functional gene product. Expression of MMAC/PTEN mildly suppressed the growth of U251 human glioma cells and abrogated the growth advantage mediated by overexpression of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). Immunoblotting demonstrated that MMAC/PTEN expression did not affect the phosphorylation of the EGFR itself, or the intermediates of several downstream signaling pathways. However, MMAC/PTEN expression significantly reduced the phosphorylation and catalytic activity of the proto-oncogene Akt/PKB. While Akt/PKB regulates the survival of many cell types, expression of MMAC/PTEN did not induce apoptosis in adherent U251 cells. Instead, MMAC/PTEN expression sensitized the cells to apoptosis when maintained in suspension (anoikis). As the survival of suspended cells is one of the hallmarks leading to metastasis, MMAC/PTEN expression was examined in a system in which metastasis is more clinically relevant, prostate cancer. Expression of MMAC/PTEN in both LNCaP and PC3-P human prostate cancer cells specifically inhibited Akt/PKB phosphorylation. MMAC/PTEN expression in LNCaP cells resulted in a profound inhibition of growth that was significantly greater than that achieved with expression of p53. Expression of MMAC/PTEN in PC3-P cells resulted in greater growth inhibition than was observed in U251 glioma cells, but less than was observed in LNCaP cells, or upon p53 expression. To determine if MMAC/PTEN could function as a tumor suppressor in vivo, the effects of MMAC/PTEN expression on PC3-P cells implanted orthotopically in nude mice were examined. The ex-vivo expression of MMAC/PTEN did not decrease tumor incidence, but it did significantly decrease tumor size and metastasis. In-vivo expression of MMAC/PTEN in pre-established PC3-P tumors did not significantly inhibit tumor incidence or size, but did inhibit metastasis formation. These studies demonstrate that MMAC/PTEN is a novel and important tumor suppressor gene, which functions to downregulate an important cell survival signaling pathway.
Molecular biology|Oncology|Cellular biology
Davies, Michael Arwyn, "The functional role of the tumor suppressor MMAC/PTEN in glioblastoma multiforme and prostate cancer" (2001). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3004451.