Research IndicatorsGraph generated 29 August 2019 using data from PubMed using criteria.
Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic. Tag cloud generated 29 August, 2019 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex
Specific Cancers (2)
Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.
Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).
OMIM, Johns Hopkin University
Referenced article focusing on the relationship between phenotype and genotype.
International Cancer Genome Consortium.
Summary of gene and mutations by cancer type from ICGC
Cancer Genome Anatomy Project, NCI
COSMIC, Sanger Institute
Somatic mutation information and related details
GEO Profiles, NCBI
Search the gene expression profiles from curated DataSets in the Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) repository.
Latest Publications: DDX3X (cancer-related)
DDX3X is a multifunctional RNA helicase with documented roles in different cancer types. Here, we demonstrate that DDX3X plays an oncogenic role in breast cancer cells by modulating the cell cycle. Depletion of DDX3X in MCF7 cells slows cell proliferation by inducing a G1 phase arrest. Notably, DDX3X inhibits expression of Kruppel-like factor 4 (KLF4), a transcription factor and cell cycle repressor. Moreover, DDX3X directly interacts with KLF4 mRNA and regulates its splicing. We show that DDX3X-mediated repression of KLF4 promotes expression of S-phase inducing genes in MCF7 breast cancer cells. These findings provide evidence for a novel function of DDX3X in regulating expression and downstream functions of KLF4, a master negative regulator of the cell cycle.
Aggressive natural killer-cell (NK-cell) leukemia (ANKL) is an extremely aggressive malignancy with dismal prognosis and lack of targeted therapies. Here, we elucidate the molecular pathogenesis of ANKL using a combination of genomic and drug sensitivity profiling. We study 14 ANKL patients using whole-exome sequencing (WES) and identify mutations in STAT3 (21%) and RAS-MAPK pathway genes (21%) as well as in DDX3X (29%) and epigenetic modifiers (50%). Additional alterations include JAK-STAT copy gains and tyrosine phosphatase mutations, which we show recurrent also in extranodal NK/T-cell lymphoma, nasal type (NKTCL) through integration of public genomic data. Drug sensitivity profiling further demonstrates the role of the JAK-STAT pathway in the pathogenesis of NK-cell malignancies, identifying NK cells to be highly sensitive to JAK and BCL2 inhibition compared to other hematopoietic cell lineages. Our results provide insight into ANKL genetics and a framework for application of targeted therapies in NK-cell malignancies.
He Y, Zhang D, Yang Y, et al.A double-edged function of DDX3, as an oncogene or tumor suppressor, in cancer progression (Review).
Oncol Rep. 2018; 39(3):883-892 [PubMed
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DEAD-box RNA helicase 3 (DDX3) is a highly conserved family member of DEAD-box proteins in all eukaryotes from yeasts to human beings. Accumulating studies have confirmed DDX3 has the ability to regulate different steps of RNA metabolism, including RNA splicing, RNA export, transcription and translation initiation. Moreover, DDX3 is involved in many biological processes, such as stress response, cell apoptosis, cell cycle regulation and virus infection. In recent years, DDX3 is getting increasing attention due to its essential roles in cancer progression. However, DDX3 role in cancer development is rather complicated. This review mainly focuses on the dual roles of DDX3 and DDX3-mediated signaling pathways in multiple cancers. In addition, the interplaying causes for the controversial roles of DDX3 in cancer are discussed. So far several small molecular chemical compounds targeting DDX3 are also summarized from the anticancer activity to the clinical trials of DDX3 inhibitors.
Casein kinase 1 (CK1) plays central roles in various signal transduction pathways and performs many cellular activities. For many years CK1 was thought to act independently of modulatory subunits and in a constitutive manner. Recently, DEAD box RNA helicases, in particular DEAD box RNA helicase 3 X-linked (DDX3X), were found to stimulate CK1 activity
Wang Z, Shen GH, Xie JM, et al.Rottlerin upregulates DDX3 expression in hepatocellular carcinoma.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2018; 495(1):1503-1509 [PubMed
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Rottlerin has been reported to exert its anti-tumor activity in various types of human cancers. However, the underlying molecular mechanism has not been fully elucidated. In the current study, we explored whether rottlerin exhibits its tumor suppressive function in hepatocellular carcinoma cells. Our MTT assay results showed that rottlerin inhibited cell growth in hepatocellular carcinoma cells. Moreover, we found that rottlerin induced cell apoptosis and caused cell cycle arrest at G1 phase. Furthermore, our wound healing assay result demonstrated that rottlerin retarded cell migration in hepatocellular carcinoma cells. Additionally, rottlerin suppressed cell migration and invasion. Notably, we found that rottlerin upregulated DDX3 expression and subsequently downregulated Cyclin D1 expression and increased p21 level. Importantly, down-regulation of DDX3 abrogated the rottlerin-mediated tumor suppressive function, whereas overexpression of DDX3 promoted the anti-tumor activity of rottlerin. Our study suggests that rottlerin exhibits its anti-cancer activity partly due to upregulation of DDX3 in hepatocellular carcinoma cells.
Accumulation of unfolded and potentially toxic proteins in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) activates a cell stress adaptive response, which involves a reprogramming of general gene expression. ATF4 is a master stress-induced transcription factor that orchestrates gene expression in cells treated with various ER stress inducers including those used to treat cancers. ER stress-induced ATF4 expression occurs mainly at the translational level involving the activity of the phosphorylated (P) translation initiation factor (eIF) eIF2α. While it is well established that under ER stress PeIF2α drives ATF4 expression through a specialised mode of translation re-initiation, factors (e.g. RNA-binding proteins and specific eIFs) involved in PeIF2α-mediated ATF4 translation remain unknown. Here we identified the RNA-binding protein named DDX3 as a promotor of ATF4 expression in cancer cells treated with sorafenib, an ER stress inducer used as a chemotherapeutic. Depletion experiments showed that DDX3 is required for PeIF2α-mediated ATF4 expression. Luciferase and polyribosomes assays showed that DDX3 drives ER stress-induced ATF4 mRNA expression at the translational level. Protein-interaction assays showed that DDX3 binds the eIF4F complex, which we found to be required for ER stress-induced ATF4 expression. This study thus showed that PeIF2α-mediated ATF4 mRNA translation requires DDX3 as a part of the eIF4F complex.
Cancer cells are reliant on the cellular translational machinery for both global elevation of protein synthesis and the translation of specific mRNAs that promote tumor cell survival. Targeting translational control in cancer is therefore increasingly recognized as a promising therapeutic strategy. In this regard, DEAD/H box RNA helicases are a very interesting group of proteins, with several family members regulating mRNA translation in cancer cells. In this review, we delineate the mechanisms by which DEAD/H box proteins modulate oncogenic translation and how inhibition of these RNA helicases can be exploited for anti-cancer therapeutics.
DDX3 is a DEAD box RNA helicase with oncogenic properties. RK-33 is developed as a small-molecule inhibitor of DDX3 and showed potent radiosensitizing activity in preclinical tumor models. This study aimed to assess DDX3 as a target in breast cancer and to elucidate how RK-33 exerts its anti-neoplastic effects. High DDX3 expression was present in 35% of breast cancer patient samples and correlated with markers of aggressiveness and shorter survival. With a quantitative proteomics approach, we identified proteins involved in the mitochondrial translation and respiratory electron transport pathways to be significantly downregulated after RK-33 or DDX3 knockdown. DDX3 localized to the mitochondria and DDX3 inhibition with RK-33 reduced mitochondrial translation. As a consequence, oxygen consumption rates and intracellular ATP concentrations decreased and reactive oxygen species (ROS) increased. RK-33 antagonized the increase in oxygen consumption and ATP production observed after exposure to ionizing radiation and reduced DNA repair. Overall, we conclude that DDX3 inhibition with RK-33 causes radiosensitization in breast cancer through inhibition of mitochondrial translation, which results in reduced oxidative phosphorylation capacity and increased ROS levels, culminating in a bioenergetic catastrophe.
Triple-negative breast cancers have unfavorable outcomes due to their inherent aggressive behavior and lack of targeted therapies. Breast cancers occurring in BRCA1 mutation carriers are mostly triple-negative and harbor homologous recombination deficiency, sensitizing them to inhibition of a second DNA damage repair pathway by, e.g., PARP inhibitors. Unfortunately, resistance against PARP inhibitors in BRCA1-deficient cancers is common and sensitivity is limited in BRCA1-proficient breast cancers. RK-33, an inhibitor of the RNA helicase DDX3, was previously demonstrated to impede non-homologous end-joining repair of DNA breaks. Consequently, we evaluated DDX3 as a therapeutic target in BRCA pro- and deficient breast cancers and assessed whether DDX3 inhibition could sensitize cells to PARP inhibition. High DDX3 expression was identified by immunohistochemistry in breast cancer samples of 24% of BRCA1 (p = 0.337) and 21% of BRCA2 mutation carriers (p = 0.624), as compared to 30% of sporadic breast cancer samples. The sensitivity to the DDX3 inhibitor RK-33 was similar in BRCA1 pro- and deficient breast cancer cell lines, with IC50 values in the low micromolar range (2.8-6.6 μM). A synergistic interaction was observed for combination treatment with RK-33 and the PARP inhibitor olaparib in BRCA1-proficient breast cancer, with the mean combination index ranging from 0.59 to 0.62. Overall, we conclude that BRCA pro- and deficient breast cancers have a similar dependency upon DDX3. DDX3 inhibition by RK-33 synergizes with PARP inhibitor treatment, especially in breast cancers with a BRCA1-proficient background.
Cai W, Xiong Chen Z, Rane G, et al.Wanted DEAD/H or Alive: Helicases Winding Up in Cancers.
J Natl Cancer Inst. 2017; 109(6) [PubMed
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Cancer is one of the most studied areas of human biology over the past century. Despite having attracted much attention, hype, and investments, the search to find a cure for cancer remains an uphill battle. Recent discoveries that challenged the central dogma of molecular biology not only further increase the complexity but also demonstrate how various types of noncoding RNAs such as microRNA and long noncoding RNA, as well as their related processes such as RNA editing, are important in regulating gene expression. Parallel to this aspect, an increasing number of reports have focused on a family of proteins known as DEAD/H-box helicases involved in RNA metabolism, regulation of long and short noncoding RNAs, and novel roles as "editing helicases" and their association with cancers. This review summarizes recent findings on the roles of RNA helicases in various cancers, which are broadly classified into adult solid tumors, childhood solid tumors, leukemia, and cancer stem cells. The potential small molecule inhibitors of helicases and their therapeutic value are also discussed. In addition, analyzing next-generation sequencing data obtained from public portals and reviewing existing literature, we provide new insights on the potential of DEAD/H-box helicases to act as pharmacological drug targets in cancers.
Metastatic breast cancer remains one of the leading causes of death in women and identification of novel treatment targets is therefore warranted. Functional studies showed that the RNA helicase DDX3 promotes metastasis, but DDX3 expression was never studied in patient samples of metastatic cancer. In order to validate previous functional studies and to evaluate DDX3 as a potential therapeutic target, we investigated DDX3 expression in paired samples of primary and metastatic breast cancer. Samples from 79 breast cancer patients with distant metastases at various anatomical sites were immunohistochemically stained for DDX3. Both cytoplasmic and nuclear DDX3 expression were compared between primary and metastatic tumors. In addition, the correlation between DDX3 expression and overall survival was assessed. Upregulation of cytoplasmic (28%; OR 3.7; p = 0.002) was common in breast cancer metastases, especially in triple negative (TN) and high grade cases. High cytoplasmic DDX3 levels were most frequent in brain lesions (65%) and significantly correlated with high mitotic activity and triple negative subtype. In addition, worse overall survival was observed for patients with high DDX3 expression in the metastasis (HR 1.79, p = 0.039). Overall, we conclude that DDX3 expression is upregulated in distant breast cancer metastases, especially in the brain and in TN cases. In addition, high metastatic DDX3 expression correlates with worse survival, implying that DDX3 is a potential therapeutic target in metastatic breast cancer, in particular in the clinically important group of TN patients.
Malignant mesothelioma is a rare cancer that arises from the mesothelial cells that line the pleural cavity and less commonly from the peritoneal lining of the abdomen and pelvis. Most pleural mesotheliomas arise in patients with a history of asbestos exposure, whereas the association of peritoneal mesotheliomas with exposure to asbestos and other potential carcinogens is less clear, suggesting that the genetic alterations that drive malignant peritoneal mesothelioma may be unique from those in pleural mesothelioma. Treatment options for all malignant mesotheliomas are currently limited, with no known targeted therapies available. To better understand the molecular pathogenesis of malignant peritoneal mesothelioma, we sequenced 510 cancer-related genes in 13 patients with malignant mesothelioma arising in the peritoneal cavity. The most frequent genetic alteration was biallelic inactivation of the BAP1 gene, which occurred in 9/13 cases, with an additional two cases demonstrating monoallelic loss of BAP1. All 11 of these cases demonstrated loss of BAP1 nuclear staining by immunohistochemistry, whereas two tumors without BAP1 alteration and all 42 cases of histologic mimics in peritoneum (8 multilocular peritoneal inclusion cyst, 6 well-differentiated papillary mesothelioma of the peritoneum, 16 adenomatoid tumor, and 12 low-grade serous carcinoma of the ovary) demonstrated intact BAP1 nuclear staining. Additional recurrently mutated genes in this cohort of malignant peritoneal mesotheliomas included NF2 (3/13), SETD2 (2/13), and DDX3X (2/13). While these genes are known to be recurrently mutated in pleural mesotheliomas, the frequencies are distinct in peritoneal mesotheliomas, with nearly 85% of peritoneal tumors harboring BAP1 alterations versus only 20-30% of pleural tumors. Together, these findings demonstrate the importance of epigenetic modifiers including BAP1, SETD2, and DDX3X in mesothelial tumorigenesis and suggest opportunities for targeted therapies.
Despite advances in diagnosis and treatment, prostate cancer is the most prevalent cancer in males and the second highest cause of cancer-related mortality. We identified an RNA helicase gene, DDX3 (DDX3X), which is overexpressed in prostate cancers, and whose expression is directly correlated with high Gleason scores. Knockdown of DDX3 in the aggressive prostate cancer cell lines DU145 and 22Rv1 resulted in significantly reduced clonogenicity. To target DDX3, we rationally designed a small molecule, RK-33, which docks into the ATP-binding domain of DDX3. Functional studies indicated that RK-33 preferentially bound to DDX3 and perturbed its activity. RK-33 treatment of prostate cancer cell lines DU145, 22Rv1, and LNCaP (which have high DDX3 levels) decreased proliferation and induced a G
DDX3X, located on the X-chromosome, belongs to the DEAD-box RNA helicase family and acts as a key RNA-binding protein to exert its regulatory functions in various biological processes. In this paper, knock-down the expression of DDX3X can affect a subset of miRNA expression levels, especially for miR-1, miR-141, miR-145, miR-19b, miR-20a and miR-34a. Through adopting the immunoprecipitation (IP), RNA immunoprecipitation (RIP), dual luciferase reporter assays, we illustrate that DDX3X could interact with Drosha/DGCR8 complex, elevate the processing activity of Drosha/DGCR8 complex on pri-miRNAs, and increase mature miRNA expression levels. For the studies of potential roles and biological functions of DDX3X-dependent miRNAs and their downstream target genes in multiple cancers, we use the primary data from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA) and several miRNA target prediction databases, to systematically analyze the expression levels of DDX3X-dependent miRNAs in almost 14 kinds of cancers versus normal tissues, and the essential biological functions for their putative downstream target genes. All these findings will provide us novel insights and directions for thoroughly exploring the regulatory mechanisms of miRNA biogenesis, and shed light on effectively searching the clinical significances and biological roles of DDX3X-dependent miRNAs and their target genes in cancer development.
Studies indicate that the presence of cancer stem cells (CSCs) is responsible for poor prognosis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients. In this study, the functional role of DDX3 in regulation of hepatic CSCs was investigated. Our results demonstrated that reduced DDX3 expression was not only inversely associated with tumor grade, but also predicted poor prognosis of HCC patients. Knockdown of DDX3 in HCC cell line HepG2 induced stemness gene signature followed by occurrence of self-renewal, chemoreisistance, EMT, migration as well as CSC expansion, and most importantly, DDX3 knockdown promotes tumorigenesis. Moreover, we found positive correlations between DDX3 level and expressions of tumor-suppressive miR-200b, miR-200c, miR-122 and miR-145, but not miR-10b and miR-519a, implying their involvement in DDX3 knockdown-induced CSC phenotypes. In addition, DDX3 reduction promoted up-regulation of DNA methyltransferase 3A (DNMT3A), while neither DNMT3B nor DNMT1 expression was affected. Enriched DNMT3A binding along with hypermethylation on promoters of these tumor-suppressive miRNAs reflected their transcriptional repressions in DDX3-knockdown cells. Furthermore, individual restoration of these tumor-suppressive miRNAs represses DDX3 knockdown-induced CSC phenotypes. In conclusion, our study suggested that DDX3 prevents generation of CSCs through epigenetically regulating a subset of tumor-suppressive miRNAs expressions, which strengthens tumor suppressor role of DDX3 in HCC.
DDX3X encodes a DEAD-box family RNA helicase (DDX3) commonly mutated in medulloblastoma, a highly aggressive cerebellar tumor affecting both children and adults. Despite being implicated in several facets of RNA metabolism, the nature and scope of DDX3's interactions with RNA remain unclear. Here, we show DDX3 collaborates extensively with the translation initiation machinery through direct binding to 5'UTRs of nearly all coding RNAs, specific sites on the 18S rRNA, and multiple components of the translation initiation complex. Impairment of translation initiation is also evident in primary medulloblastomas harboring mutations in DDX3X, further highlighting DDX3's role in this process. Arsenite-induced stress shifts DDX3 binding from the 5'UTR into the coding region of mRNAs concomitant with a general reduction of translation, and both the shift of DDX3 on mRNA and decreased translation are blunted by expression of a catalytically-impaired, medulloblastoma-associated DDX3R534H variant. Furthermore, despite the global repression of translation induced by arsenite, translation is preserved on select genes involved in chromatin organization in DDX3R534H-expressing cells. Thus, DDX3 interacts extensively with RNA and ribosomal machinery to help remodel the translation landscape in response to stress, while cancer-related DDX3 variants adapt this response to selectively preserve translation.
DDX3 plays a dual role in colorectal cancer; however, the role and underlying mechanism of DDX3 in colorectal tumorigenesis remains unclear. Here, we provide evidence that DDX3 enhances oncogenic KRAS transcription via an increase in SP1 binding to its promoter. Accelerating oncogenic KRAS expression by DDX3 promotes the invasion capability via the ERK/PTEN/AKT/β-catenin cascade. Moreover, the β-catenin/ZEB1 axis is responsible for DDX3-induced cell invasiveness and xenograft lung tumor nodule formation. The xenograft lung tumor nodules induced by DDX3-overexpressing T84 stable clone were nearly suppressed by the inhibitor of AKT (perifosine) or β-catenin (XAV939). Among patients, high KRAS, positive nuclear β-catenin expression and high ZEB1 were more commonly occurred in high-DDX3 tumors than in low-DDX3 tumors. High-DDX3, high-KRAS, positive nuclear β-catenin tumors, and high-ZEB1 exhibited worse overall survival (OS) and relapse free survival (RFS) than their counterparts. In conclusion, DDX3 may play an oncogenic role to promote tumor growth and invasion in colon cancer cells via the β-catenin/ZEB1 axis due to increasing KRAS transcription. We therefore suggest that AKT or β-catenin may potentially act as a therapeutic target to improve tumor regression and outcomes in colorectal cancer patients who harbored high-DDX3 tumors.
Floor SN, Condon KJ, Sharma D, et al.Autoinhibitory Interdomain Interactions and Subfamily-specific Extensions Redefine the Catalytic Core of the Human DEAD-box Protein DDX3.
J Biol Chem. 2016; 291(5):2412-21 [PubMed
] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
DEAD-box proteins utilize ATP to bind and remodel RNA and RNA-protein complexes. All DEAD-box proteins share a conserved core that consists of two RecA-like domains. The core is flanked by subfamily-specific extensions of idiosyncratic function. The Ded1/DDX3 subfamily of DEAD-box proteins is of particular interest as members function during protein translation, are essential for viability, and are frequently altered in human malignancies. Here, we define the function of the subfamily-specific extensions of the human DEAD-box protein DDX3. We describe the crystal structure of the subfamily-specific core of wild-type DDX3 at 2.2 Å resolution, alone and in the presence of AMP or nonhydrolyzable ATP. These structures illustrate a unique interdomain interaction between the two ATPase domains in which the C-terminal domain clashes with the RNA-binding surface. Destabilizing this interaction accelerates RNA duplex unwinding, suggesting that it is present in solution and inhibitory for catalysis. We use this core fragment of DDX3 to test the function of two recurrent medulloblastoma variants of DDX3 and find that both inactivate the protein in vitro and in vivo. Taken together, these results redefine the structural and functional core of the DDX3 subfamily of DEAD-box proteins.
RNA helicases are a large family of proteins with a distinct motif, referred to as the DEAD/H (Asp-Glu-Ala-Asp/His). The exact functions of all the human DEAD/H box proteins are unknown. However, it has been consistently demonstrated that these proteins are associated with several aspects of energy-dependent RNA metabolism, including translation, ribosome biogenesis, and pre-mRNA splicing. In addition, DEAD/H box proteins participate in nuclear-cytoplasmic transport and organellar gene expression.A member of this RNA helicase family, DDX3, has been identified in a variety of cellular biogenesis processes, including cell-cycle regulation, cellular differentiation, cell survival, and apoptosis. In cancer, DDX3 expression has been evaluated in patient samples of breast, lung, colon, oral, and liver cancer. Both tumor suppressor and oncogenic functions have been attributed to DDX3 and are discussed in this review. In general, there is concordance with in vitro evidence to support the hypothesis that DDX3 is associated with an aggressive phenotype in human malignancies. Interestingly, very few cancer types harbor mutations in DDX3, which result in altered protein function rather than a loss of function.Efficacy of drugs to curtail cancer growth is hindered by adaptive responses that promote drug resistance, eventually leading to treatment failure. One way to circumvent development of resistant disease is to develop novel drugs that target over-expressed proteins involved in this adaptive response. Moreover, if the target gene is developmentally regulated, there is less of a possibility to abruptly accumulate mutations leading to drug resistance. In this regard, DDX3 could be a druggable target for cancer treatment. We present an overview of DDX3 biology and the currently available DDX3 inhibitors for cancer treatment.
Wilky BA, Kim C, McCarty G, et al.RNA helicase DDX3: a novel therapeutic target in Ewing sarcoma.
Oncogene. 2016; 35(20):2574-83 [PubMed
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RNA helicase DDX3 has oncogenic activity in breast and lung cancers and is required for translation of complex mRNA transcripts, including those encoding key cell-cycle regulatory proteins. We sought to determine the expression and function of DDX3 in sarcoma cells, and to investigate the antitumor activity of a novel small molecule DDX3 inhibitor, RK-33. Utilizing various sarcoma cell lines, xenografts and human tissue microarrays, we measured DDX3 expression at the mRNA and protein levels, and evaluated cytotoxicity of RK-33 in sarcoma cell lines. To study the role of DDX3 in Ewing sarcoma, we generated stable DDX3-knockdown Ewing sarcoma cell lines using DDX3-specific small hairpin RNA (shRNA), and assessed oncogenic activity. DDX3-knockdown and RK-33-treated Ewing sarcoma cells were compared with wild-type cells using an isobaric mass-tag quantitative proteomics approach to identify target proteins impacted by DDX3 inhibition. Overall, we found high expression of DDX3 in numerous human sarcoma subtypes compared with non-malignant mesenchymal cells, and knockdown of DDX3 by RNA interference inhibited oncogenic activity in Ewing sarcoma cells. Treatment with RK-33 was preferentially cytotoxic to sarcoma cells, including chemotherapy-resistant Ewing sarcoma stem cells, while sparing non-malignant cells. Sensitivity to RK-33 correlated with DDX3 protein expression. Growth of human Ewing sarcoma xenografts expressing high DDX3 was inhibited by RK-33 treatment in mice, without overt toxicity. DDX3 inhibition altered the Ewing sarcoma cellular proteome, especially proteins involved in DNA replication, mRNA translation and proteasome function. These data support further investigation of the role of DDX3 in sarcomas, advancement of RK-33 to Ewing sarcoma clinical trials and development of RNA helicase inhibition as a novel anti-neoplastic strategy.
Identifying druggable targets in the Wnt-signaling pathway can optimize colorectal cancer treatment. Recent studies have identified a member of the RNA helicase family DDX3 (DDX3X) as a multilevel activator of Wnt signaling in cells without activating mutations in the Wnt-signaling pathway. In this study, we evaluated whether DDX3 plays a role in the constitutively active Wnt pathway that drives colorectal cancer. We determined DDX3 expression levels in 303 colorectal cancers by immunohistochemistry. 39% of tumors overexpressed DDX3. High cytoplasmic DDX3 expression correlated with nuclear β-catenin expression, a marker of activated Wnt signaling. Functionally, we validated this finding in vitro and found that inhibition of DDX3 with siRNA resulted in reduced TCF4-reporter activity and lowered the mRNA expression levels of downstream TCF4-regulated genes. In addition, DDX3 knockdown in colorectal cancer cell lines reduced proliferation and caused a G1 arrest, supporting a potential oncogenic role of DDX3 in colorectal cancer. RK-33 is a small molecule inhibitor designed to bind to the ATP-binding site of DDX3. Treatment of colorectal cancer cell lines and patient-derived 3D cultures with RK-33 inhibited growth and promoted cell death with IC50 values ranging from 2.5 to 8 μM. The highest RK-33 sensitivity was observed in tumors with wild-type APC-status and a mutation in CTNNB1. Based on these results, we conclude that DDX3 has an oncogenic role in colorectal cancer. Inhibition of DDX3 with the small molecule inhibitor RK-33 causes inhibition of Wnt signaling and may therefore be a promising future treatment strategy for a subset of colorectal cancers.
Jiang L, Gu ZH, Yan ZX, et al.Exome sequencing identifies somatic mutations of DDX3X in natural killer/T-cell lymphoma.
Nat Genet. 2015; 47(9):1061-6 [PubMed
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Natural killer/T-cell lymphoma (NKTCL) is a malignant proliferation of CD56(+) and cytoCD3(+) lymphocytes with aggressive clinical course, which is prevalent in Asian and South American populations. The molecular pathogenesis of NKTCL has largely remained elusive. We identified somatic gene mutations in 25 people with NKTCL by whole-exome sequencing and confirmed them in an extended validation group of 80 people by targeted sequencing. Recurrent mutations were most frequently located in the RNA helicase gene DDX3X (21/105 subjects, 20.0%), tumor suppressors (TP53 and MGA), JAK-STAT-pathway molecules (STAT3 and STAT5B) and epigenetic modifiers (MLL2, ARID1A, EP300 and ASXL3). As compared to wild-type protein, DDX3X mutants exhibited decreased RNA-unwinding activity, loss of suppressive effects on cell-cycle progression in NK cells and transcriptional activation of NF-κB and MAPK pathways. Clinically, patients with DDX3X mutations presented a poor prognosis. Our work thus contributes to the understanding of the disease mechanism of NKTCL.
Primary high-grade gliomas possess invasive growth and lead to unfavorable survival outcome. The investigation of biomarkers for prediction of survival outcome in patients with gliomas is important for clinical assessment. The DEAD (Asp-Glu-Ala-Asp) box helicase 3, X-linked (DDX3X) controls tumor migration, proliferation, and progression. However, the role of DDX3X in defining the pathological grading and survival outcome in patients with human gliomas is not yet clarified. We analyzed the DDX3X gene expression, WHO pathological grading, and overall survival from de-linked data. Further validation was done using quantitative RT-PCR of cDNA from normal brain and glioma, and immunohistochemical (IHC) staining of tissue microarray. Statistical analysis of GEO datasets showed that DDX3X mRNA expression demonstrated statistically higher in WHO grade IV (n = 81) than in non-tumor controls (n = 23, p = 1.13 × 10(-10)). Moreover, DDX3X level was also higher in WHO grade III (n = 19) than in non-tumor controls (p = 2.43 × 10(-5)). Kaplan-Meier survival analysis showed poor survival in patients with high DDX3X mRNA levels (n = 24) than in those with low DDX3X expression (n = 53) (median survival, 115 vs. 58 weeks, p = 0.0009, by log-rank test, hazard ratio: 0.3507, 95% CI: 0.1893-0.6496). Furthermore, DDX3X mRNA expression and protein production significantly increased in glioma cells compared with normal brain tissue examined by quantitative RT-PCR, and Western blot. IHC staining showed highly staining of high-grade glioma in comparison with normal brain tissue. Taken together, DDX3X expression level positively correlates with WHO pathologic grading and poor survival outcome, indicating that DDX3X is a valuable biomarker in human gliomas.
Ezrin is a key regulator of cancer metastasis that links the extracellular matrix to the actin cytoskeleton and regulates cell morphology and motility. We discovered a small-molecule inhibitor, NSC305787, that directly binds to ezrin and inhibits its function. In this study, we used a nano-liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (nano-LC-MS-MS)-based proteomic approach to identify ezrin-interacting proteins that are competed away by NSC305787. A large number of the proteins that interact with ezrin were implicated in protein translation and stress granule dynamics. We validated direct interaction between ezrin and the RNA helicase DDX3, and NSC305787 blocked this interaction. Downregulation or long-term pharmacological inhibition of ezrin led to reduced DDX3 protein levels without changes in DDX3 mRNA. Ectopic overexpression of ezrin in low-ezrin-expressing osteosarcoma cells caused a notable increase in DDX3 protein levels. Ezrin inhibited the RNA helicase activity of DDX3 but increased its ATPase activity. Our data suggest that ezrin controls the translation of mRNAs preferentially with a structured 5' untranslated region, at least in part, by sustaining the protein level of DDX3 and/or regulating its function. Therefore, our findings suggest a novel function for ezrin in regulation of gene translation that is distinct from its canonical role as a cytoskeletal scaffold at the cell membrane.
BACKGROUND: Conflicting results regarding the role of DEAD-box polypeptide 3 (DDX3) are seen not only between cancer types but also within the same type of cancer. In this study, we aimed at clarifying the prognostic significance of DDX3 in patients of major cancer types through large cohort survival analysis and further investigated its effects on cancer progression.
METHODS: Large cohort survival analysis of 7 cancer types, including colorectal cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, head and neck cancer, liver cancer, glioblastoma, and ovarian cancer, was performed using public database at RNA level and was further confirmed by IHC analysis at protein level. Phenotype parameters of DDX3 knockdown colon cancer cells and the mechanism of DDX3 regulated cancer progression were investigated in vitro and in vivo.
RESULTS: In large cohort survival analysis, DDX3 had a significant prognostic predictive power in colorectal cancer at both RNA and protein level. Patients with low DDX3 expression had poor prognosis and frequent distant metastasis. Knockdown of DDX3 enhanced the migration and invasion abilities of colon cancer cells and promoted tumor metastasis in vivo. Snail upregulation with decreased membranous E-cadherin expression and reduced cell aggregation were found after DDX3 downregulation.
CONCLUSIONS: Our study revealed the strong prognostic effect of DDX3 on colorectal cancer among seven major cancer types through larger cohort survival analysis at RNA and protein level. Low DDX3 expression promotes Snail/E-cadherin pathway mediated cancer metastasis and poor clinical outcome in colorectal cancer patients.
Chen HH, Yu HI, Cho WC, Tarn WYDDX3 modulates cell adhesion and motility and cancer cell metastasis via Rac1-mediated signaling pathway.
Oncogene. 2015; 34(21):2790-800 [PubMed
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The DEAD-box RNA helicase DDX3 is a versatile protein involved in multiple steps of gene expression and various cellular signaling pathways. DDX3 mutations have been implicated in the wingless (Wnt) type of medulloblastoma. We show here that small interfering RNA-mediated DDX3 knockdown in various cell lines increased cell-cell adhesion but decreased cell-extracellular matrix adhesion. Moreover, DDX3 depletion suppressed cell motility and impaired directional migration in the wound-healing assay. Accordingly, DDX3-depleted cells exhibited reduced invasive capacities in vitro as well as reduced metastatic potential in mice. We also examined the mechanism underlying DDX3-regulated cell migration. DDX3 knockdown reduced the levels of both Rac1 and β-catenin proteins, and consequentially downregulated the expression of several β-catenin target genes. Moreover, we demonstrated that DDX3-regulated Rac1 mRNA translation, possibly through an interaction with its 5'-untranslated region, and affected β-catenin protein stability in an Rac1-dependent manner. Taken together, our results indicate the DDX3-Rac1-β-catenin regulatory axis in modulating the expression of Wnt/β-catenin target genes. Therefore, this report provides a mechanistic context for the role of DDX3 in Wnt-type tumors.
Weinreb I, Zhang L, Tirunagari LM, et al.Novel PRKD gene rearrangements and variant fusions in cribriform adenocarcinoma of salivary gland origin.
Genes Chromosomes Cancer. 2014; 53(10):845-56 [PubMed
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Polymorphous low-grade adenocarcinoma (PLGA) and cribriform adenocarcinoma of minor salivary gland (CAMSG) are low-grade carcinomas arising most often in oral cavity and oropharynx, respectively. Controversy exists as to whether these tumors represent separate entities or variants of one spectrum, as they appear to have significant overlap, but also clinicopathologic differences. As many salivary carcinomas harbor recurrent translocations, paired-end RNA sequencing and FusionSeq data analysis was applied for novel fusion discovery on two CAMSGs and two PLGAs. Validated rearrangements were then screened by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) in 60 cases. Histologic classification was performed without knowledge of fusion status and included: 21 CAMSG, 18 classic PLGA, and 21 with "mixed/indeterminate" features. The RNAseq of 2 CAMSGs showed ARID1A-PRKD1 and DDX3X-PRKD1 fusions, respectively, while no fusion candidates were identified in two PLGAs. FISH for PRKD1 rearrangements identified 11 additional cases (22%), two more showing ARID1A-PRKD1 fusions. As PRKD2 and PRKD3 share similar functions with PRKD1 in the diacylglycerol and protein kinase C signal transduction pathway, we expanded the investigation for these genes by FISH. Six additional cases each showed PRKD2 and PRKD3 rearrangements. Of the 26 (43%) fusion-positive tumors, there were 16 (80%) CAMSGs and 9 (45%) indeterminate cases. A PRKD2 rearrangement was detected in one PLGA (6%). We describe novel and recurrent gene rearrangements in PRKD1-3 primarily in CAMSG, suggesting a possible pathogenetic dichotomy from "classic" PLGA. However, the presence of similar genetic findings in half of the indeterminate cases and a single PLGA suggests a possible shared pathogenesis for these tumor types.
Smoothened (SMO) inhibitors recently entered clinical trials for sonic-hedgehog-driven medulloblastoma (SHH-MB). Clinical response is highly variable. To understand the mechanism(s) of primary resistance and identify pathways cooperating with aberrant SHH signaling, we sequenced and profiled a large cohort of SHH-MBs (n = 133). SHH pathway mutations involved PTCH1 (across all age groups), SUFU (infants, including germline), and SMO (adults). Children >3 years old harbored an excess of downstream MYCN and GLI2 amplifications and frequent TP53 mutations, often in the germline, all of which were rare in infants and adults. Functional assays in different SHH-MB xenograft models demonstrated that SHH-MBs harboring a PTCH1 mutation were responsive to SMO inhibition, whereas tumors harboring an SUFU mutation or MYCN amplification were primarily resistant.
Medulloblastoma, the most common malignant brain tumor in children, is a disease whose mechanisms are now beginning to be uncovered by high-throughput studies of somatic mutations, mRNA expression patterns, and epigenetic profiles of patient tumors. One emerging theme from studies that sequenced the tumor genomes of large cohorts of medulloblastoma patients is frequent mutation of RNA binding proteins. Proteins which bind multiple RNA targets can act as master regulators of gene expression at the post-transcriptional level to co-ordinate cellular processes and alter the phenotype of the cell. Identification of the target genes of RNA binding proteins may highlight essential pathways of medulloblastomagenesis that cannot be detected by study of transcriptomics alone. Furthermore, a subset of RNA binding proteins are attractive drug targets. For example, compounds that are under development as anti-viral targets due to their ability to inhibit RNA helicases could also be tested in novel approaches to medulloblastoma therapy by targeting key RNA binding proteins. In this review, we discuss a number of RNA binding proteins, including Musashi1 (MSI1), DEAD (Asp-Glu-Ala-Asp) box helicase 3 X-linked (DDX3X), DDX31, and cell division cycle and apoptosis regulator 1 (CCAR1), which play potentially critical roles in the growth and/or maintenance of medulloblastoma.