PTEN/AKT signaling pathway related to hTERT downregulation and telomere shortening induced in Toxoplasma GRA16-expressing colorectal cancer cells

Seung Hwan Seo, Ji Hun Shin, Do Won Ham, Eun Hee Shin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study investigated whether the molecular mechanism of granule protein 16 (GRA16), a dense granule protein of Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) that induces cancer cell apoptosis, results in telomere shortening in cancer cells. The molecular mechanism of GRA16 responsible for regulating telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT) activity and telomere shortening was investigated using GRA16-transferred HCT116 human colorectal cancer cells (GRA16-stable cells). GRA16 directly decreased hTERT expression by downregulating the expression and phosphorylation of hTERT transcriptional factors accompanied by decreased expression of shelterin complex molecules. Moreover, GRA16 resulted in cancer cell death through reduction of telomerase activity which leads to telomere shortening (decreased relative ratio of telomeric repeat-amplified sequence to that of a single-copy gene) (T/S ratio)), and at the same time gamma-H2A histone family member X (γ-H2A.X) stained nucleus was increased in the cells. The molecular mechanism between GRA16 and hTERT inactivation was revealed using inhibitors for phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) and protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) as well as siRNAs against PTEN and PP2A. hTERT dephosphorylation was induced effectively by the signaling pathway of HAUSP/PTEN/p-AKT(S473) but not by PP2A-B55/p-AKT(T308). Inhibition of the PTEN signaling pathway increased mRNA expressions in hTERT transcriptional factors, cell cycle activating factors, and apoptosis-inhibiting factors. When HCT116 cells were infected with T. gondii, the number of γ-H2A.X-stained nuclei also increased and p-hTERT/hTERT decreased as in GRA16-stable cells. Altogether, our results emphasize that GRA16 is a novel promising telomerase inhibitor that causes telomere shortening through telomerase inactivation by inducing the activation of the tumor suppressor PTEN.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113366
JournalBiomedicine and Pharmacotherapy
Volume153
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2022

Keywords

  • Colorectal cancer cell
  • GRA16
  • HTERT
  • P-AKT(S473)
  • Telomere shortening
  • Toxoplasma gondii

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