RNA polymerase II large subunit degradation induced by ecteinascidin 743: Molecular characterization and subsequent rational investigation of antitumor mechanisms in cancers with clinical response
Ecteinascidin 743 (Et-743), which is a novel DNA minor groove alkylator with a unique spectrum of antitumor activity, is currently being evaluated in phase II/III clinical trials. Although the precise molecular mechanisms responsible for the observed antitumor activity are poorly understood, recent data suggests that post-translational modifications of RNA polymerase II Large Subunit (RNAPII LS) may play a central role in the cellular response to this promising anticancer agent. The stalling of an actively transcribing RNAPII LS at Et-743-DNA adducts is the initial cellular signal for transcription-coupled nucleotide excision repair (TC-NER). In this manner, Et-743 poisons TC-NER and produces DNA single strand breaks. Et-743 also inhibits the transcription and RNAPII LS-mediated expression of selected genes. Because the poisoning of TC-NER and transcription inhibition are critical components of the molecular response to Et-743 treatment, we have investigated if changes in RNAPII LS contribute to the disruption of these two cellular pathways. In addition, we have studied changes in RNAPII LS in two tumors for which clinical responses were reported in phase I/II clinical trials: renal cell carcinoma and Ewing's sarcoma. Our results demonstrate that Et-743 induces degradation of the RNAPII LS that is dependent on active transcription, a functional 26S proteasome, and requires functional TC-NER, but not global genome repair. Additionally, we have provided the first experimental data indicating that degradation of RNAPII LS might lead to the inhibition of activated gene transcription. A set of studies performed in isogenic renal carcinoma cells deficient in von Hippel-Lindau protein, which is a ubiquitin-E3-ligase for RNAPII LS, confirmed the central role of RNAPII LS degradation in the sensitivity to Et-743. Finally, we have shown that RNAPII LS is also degraded in Ewing's sarcoma tumors following Et-743 treatment and provide data to suggest that this event plays a role in decreased expression of the Ewing's sarcoma oncoprotein, EWS-Fli1. Altogether, these data implicate degradation of RNAPII LS as a critical event following Et-743 exposure and suggest that the clinical activity observed in renal carcinoma and Ewing's sarcoma may be mediated by disruption of molecular pathways requiring a fully functional RNAPII LS.
Aune, Gregory J, "RNA polymerase II large subunit degradation induced by ecteinascidin 743: Molecular characterization and subsequent rational investigation of antitumor mechanisms in cancers with clinical response" (2005). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3168433.