The regulation of JAB1 and its role in herceptin resistance

Terry Jo Shackleford, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


The Jun activation domain-binding protein (JAB1) is a c-Jun co-activator and a member of the COP9 signalosome. Additionally, it has recently been named a key negative regulator of the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor, p27. JAB1 overexpression has been observed in breast cancer and correlates with low p27 levels as well as poor prognosis, yet the mechanism of JAB1 deregulation is unknown. Data from our laboratory suggest that constitutive transcriptional activation of the jab1 gene is responsible for JAB1 protein overexpression. Therefore, we hypothesized that overexpression of JAB1 in breast cancer can be attributed to increased transcriptional activity. To identify potential positive regulators of JAB1, we characterized the promoter and found a 128 bp region that was critical for jab1 transcriptional activation. Our studies show that two oncogenic transcription factors, C/EBPβ and STAT3, play an important role in modulating jab1 transcription. Further, we have identified jab1 as a direct target gene of the SRC/STAT3 pathway. These studies provide insight to the mechanism of JAB1 overexpression in breast cancer and open up possibilities for therapies to inhibit its expression. The development of the humanized monoclonal antibody, Herceptin (trastuzumab) targeting the HER2 (ErbB2) receptor has provided promising treatment to patients with aggressive HER2 positive breast cancer. However, many patients are resistant to Herceptin and additional therapies are needed to overcome resistance. Recent findings indicate that one mechanism of resistance involves AKT phosphorylation and subsequent mislocalization of the cyclin dependent kinase inhibitor, p27. We examined whether JAB1 facilitated degradation of p27 may be another mechanism of resistance to Herceptin. Our studies show that overexpression of JAB1 inhibited Herceptin induced G1-arrest and p27 accumulation. Interestingly, increased JAB1 levels were observed in two BT-474 Herceptin resistant clones. Targeted silencing of JAB1 increased p27 protein levels, reinstated a G1 checkpoint, and reduced cellular proliferation in the resistant clones. Our studies have demonstrated that inhibition of JAB1 sensitizes Herceptin resistant cells to treatment. Therefore, inhibition of JAB1 could provide a novel method of sensitizing resistant tumors to Herceptin-induced tumor growth arrest.

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Recommended Citation

Shackleford, Terry Jo, "The regulation of JAB1 and its role in herceptin resistance" (2008). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3305172.