SGK1

Gene Summary

Gene:SGK1; serum/glucocorticoid regulated kinase 1
Aliases: SGK
Location:6q23
Summary:This gene encodes a serine/threonine protein kinase that plays an important role in cellular stress response. This kinase activates certain potassium, sodium, and chloride channels, suggesting an involvement in the regulation of processes such as cell survival, neuronal excitability, and renal sodium excretion. High levels of expression of this gene may contribute to conditions such as hypertension and diabetic nephropathy. Several alternatively spliced transcript variants encoding different isoforms have been noted for this gene. [provided by RefSeq, Jan 2009]
Databases:OMIM, VEGA, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:serine/threonine-protein kinase Sgk1
HPRD
Source:NCBIAccessed: 11 August, 2015

Ontology:

What does this gene/protein do?
Show (29)

Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1990-2015)
Graph generated 11 August 2015 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

  • Wnt Proteins
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Cell Survival
  • Transcription
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Phosphorylation
  • RNA Interference
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors
  • Transcription Factors
  • beta Catenin
  • Colorectal Cancer
  • Epithelial Cells
  • Messenger RNA
  • Apoptosis
  • Signal Transduction
  • Glucocorticoid Receptors
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • Carcinoma
  • RT-PCR
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • siRNA
  • Neoplastic Cell Transformation
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Mutation
  • Colonic Neoplasms
  • Chromosome 6
  • Remission Induction
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Immediate-Early Proteins
  • Breast Cancer
  • Single Nucleotide Polymorphism
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Down-Regulation
  • p53 Protein
  • RTPCR
  • Receptors, Progesterone
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Androgen Receptors
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Metribolone
Tag cloud generated 11 August, 2015 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (3)

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).

Latest Publications: SGK1 (cancer-related)

Salis O, Bedir A, Gulten S, et al.
Cytotoxic effect of fluvastatin on MCF-7 cells possibly through a reduction of the mRNA expression levels of SGK1 and CAV1.
Cancer Biother Radiopharm. 2014; 29(9):368-75 [PubMed] Related Publications
Fluvastatin (FLU) prevents the conversion of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) to mevalonic acid by inhibiting HMG-CoA reductase and decreases cholesterol level. Although the effects of FLU treatment on several cancer types through many mechanisms have been identified, its relationship with unfolded protein response and apoptosis has not been clearly understood. In this recent study, we aimed to investigate the cytotoxic effect of Fluvastatin on MCF-7 cells and define the transcriptional regulation of specific genes during the occurrence of this cytotoxic effect. We administered 0.62, 2.5, 5, and 40 μM FLU on MCF-7 cells singly and in combination with 2-deoxyglucose (2-DG), and we monitored cell viability and proliferation for 48 hours using real-time cell analyzer system (xCELLigence). At the same time, we measured the mRNA expression levels of glucose-regulated protein 78 (GRP78), CCAAT/enhancer binding protein, homologous protein (CHOP), caveolin-1 (CAV1), NDRG1 Variant 1 and Variant 2, HMOX1, SGK1, and prostate apoptosis response-4 (PAR4) genes using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (LightCycler 480 II). We accepted GAPDH gene and control groups as the reference gene and calibrator, respectively. We performed relative gene expression analyses of the study groups using the QIAGEN 2009 Relative Expression Software Tool (REST). FLU revealed an antiproliferative and cytotoxic effect on MCF-7 cells, while causing the transcriptional regulation of many genes. Of these genes, the mRNA expressions of CHOP, heme oxygenase 1 (HMOX1), N-myc downstream-regulated gene 1 (NDRG1) V1, and NDRG1 V2 increased. On the other hand, the mRNA expression levels of SGK1 and CAV1 decreased. The antiproliferative effects of FLU may be related to the decreased expression levels of SGK1 and CAV1.

Sweeney EE, Fan P, Jordan VC
Molecular modulation of estrogen-induced apoptosis by synthetic progestins in hormone replacement therapy: an insight into the women's health initiative study.
Cancer Res. 2014; 74(23):7060-8 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/12/2015 Related Publications
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is widely used to manage menopausal symptoms in women and can be comprised of an estrogen alone or an estrogen combined with a progestin. The Women's Health Initiative demonstrated in their randomized trials that estrogen alone HRT decreases the risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women, whereas combined estrogen plus a progestin (medroxyprogesterone acetate, MPA) HRT increases this risk. Long-term estrogen-deprived MCF-7:5C cells were used to model the postmenopausal breast cancer cell environment. MPA is able to modify E2-induced apoptosis in MCF-7:5C cells. MPA, similar to dexamethasone, increases glucocorticoid receptor (GR) transcriptional activity, increases SGK1, a GR target gene, and can be blocked by RU486 (an antiglucocorticoid), suggesting that it functions through the GR. Norethindrone acetate (NETA), another progestin used in HRT, acts like an estrogen at high doses, upregulating estrogen receptor target genes and generating apoptosis in MCF-7:5C cells. The data suggest that women taking HRT comprising an estrogen plus MPA may have an increased risk of breast cancer due to MPA acting as a glucocorticoid and blunting E2-induced apoptosis in this environment. Therefore, perhaps other approved progestins (e.g., NETA) should be considered as alternatives to MPA.

Moore NL, Edwards DP, Weigel NL
Cyclin A2 and its associated kinase activity are required for optimal induction of progesterone receptor target genes in breast cancer cells.
J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2014; 144 Pt B:471-82 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2015 Related Publications
A role for the cell cycle protein cyclin A2 in regulating progesterone receptor (PR) activity is emerging. This study investigates the role of cyclin A2 in regulating endogenous PR activity in T47D breast cancer cells by depleting cyclin A2 expression and measuring PR target genes using q-RT-PCR. Targets examined included genes induced by the PR-B isoform more strongly than PR-A (SGK1, FKBP5), a gene induced predominantly by PR-A (HEF1), genes induced via PR tethering to other transcription factors (p21, p27), a gene induced in part via extra-nuclear PR signaling mechanisms (cyclin D1) and PR-repressed genes (DST, IL1R1). Progestin induction of target genes was reduced following cyclin A2 depletion. However, cyclin A2 depletion did not diminish progestin target gene repression. Furthermore, inhibition of the associated Cdk2 kinase activity of cyclin A2 also reduced progestin induction of target genes, while Cdk2 enhanced the interaction between PR and cyclin A2. These results demonstrate that cyclin A2 and its associated kinase activity are important for progestin-induced activation of endogenous PR target genes in breast cancer cells.

Salis O, Bedir A, Ozdemir T, et al.
The relationship between anticancer effect of metformin and the transcriptional regulation of certain genes (CHOP, CAV-1, HO-1, SGK-1 and Par-4) on MCF-7 cell line.
Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2014; 18(11):1602-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: 1,1-dimethylbiguanide hydrochloride (biguanide metformin) is a hypoglycemic agent that is widely used in the treatment of Type 2 diabetes. Use of metformin was found to be associated with the lower risk of cancer. It is suggested that metformin has an anticancer and antiproliferative effect and affects the apoptosis by activating the AMPK and inhibiting the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR). Although the effects of metformin treatment of various types of cancers are defined with many mechanisms, the literature provides only sufficient information about how it affects the SGK-1, Par-4 and Cav-1 mRNA expressions and the impact of this effect on cytotoxicity. The breast cancer is globally one of the most important causes of cancer-related mortality for women. We, therefore investigated the possible effects of metmorfin on proliferation, cytotoxicity and some unfolded protein response (UPR) genes in the breast cancer cells (MCF-7).
MATERIALS AND METHODS: We administrated 0.31 mM, 2.5 mM and 10 mM of metformin alone and in combination with 2-DG to the MCF-7 cells and monitored the cell viability and proliferation with real-time cell analyzer system for 48 hours. We also measured CHOP, Cav-1, HO-1, SGK-1 and Par-4 genes mRNA expression levels using Real Time-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR). We considered the GAPDH gene as reference gene and the control groups as calibrator. We performed an analysis for relative gene expressions of the study groups.
RESULTS: Metformin caused transcriptional regulation of UPR and tumor-related genes in MCF-7 cells and inhibited the proliferation depending on the dose, resulting in cytotoxic effect.
CONCLUSIONS: We consider that administration of metformin with chemotherapeutic agents could be an effective method in treatment of breast cancer through mechanisms such as reduced resistance to chemotherapy and increased cytotoxic activity.

Srivastava M, Leighton X, Starr J, et al.
Diverse effects of ANXA7 and p53 on LNCaP prostate cancer cells are associated with regulation of SGK1 transcription and phosphorylation of the SGK1 target FOXO3A.
Biomed Res Int. 2014; 2014:193635 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2015 Related Publications
Tumor suppressor function of the calcium/phospholipid-binding Annexin-A7 (ANXA7) has been shown in Anxa7-deficient mice and validated in human cancers. In the androgen-resistant prostate cancer cells, ANXA7 and p53 showed similar cytotoxicity levels. However, in the androgen-sensitive LNCaP, ANXA7 greatly exceeded the p53-induced cytotoxicity. We hypothesized that the p53 underperformance in LNCaP could be due to the involvement of p53-responsive SGK1 and FOXO3A. In this study, we show that p53 failed to match programmed cell death (PCD) and G1-arrest that were induced by ANXA7 in LNCaP. WT-ANXA7 preserved total FOXO3A expression with no hyperphosphorylation that could enable FOXO3A nuclear translocation and proapoptotic transcription. In contrast, in the p53-transfected LNCaP cells with maintained cell proliferation, the phosphorylated (but not total) FOXO3A fraction was increased implying a predominantly cytoplasmic localization and, subsequently, a lack of FOXO3A proapoptotic transcription. In addition, p53 reduced the expression of aberrant SGK1 protein form in LNCaP. Using Ingenuity Pathway Analysis and p53-signature genes, we elucidated the role of distinct SGK1/FOXO3A-associated regulation in p53 versus ANXA7 responses and proposed that aberrant SGK1 could affect reciprocal SGK1-FOXO3A-Akt regulation. Thus, the failure of the cell growth regulator p53 versus the phospholipid-binding ANXA7 could be potentially attributed to its diverse effects on SGK1-FOXO3A-Akt pathway in the PTEN-deficient LNCaP.

Kawka J, Sturm D, Pleier S, et al.
Revealing the role of SGK1 in the dynamics of medulloblastoma using a mathematical model.
J Theor Biol. 2014; 354:105-12 [PubMed] Related Publications
Deregulation of signaling pathways and subsequent abnormal interactions of downstream genes very often results in carcinogenesis. In this paper, we propose a two-compartment model describing intricate dynamics of the target genes of the Wnt signaling pathway in medulloblastoma. The system of nine nonlinear ordinary differential equations accounts for the formation and dissociation of complexes as well as for the transcription, translation and transport between the cytoplasm and the nucleus. We focus on the interplay between MYC and SGK1 (serum and glucocorticoid-inducible kinase 1), which are the products of Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway, and GSK3β (glycogen synthase kinase). Numerical simulations of the model solutions yield a better understanding of the process and indicate the importance of the SGK1 gene in the development of medulloblastoma, which has been confirmed in our recent experiments. The model is calibrated based on the gene expression microarray data for two types of medulloblastoma, characterized by monosomy and trisomy of chromosome 6q to highlight the difference between diagnoses.

Jung HS, Seo YR, Yang YM, et al.
Gα12gep oncogene inhibits FOXO1 in hepatocellular carcinoma as a consequence of miR-135b and miR-194 dysregulation.
Cell Signal. 2014; 26(7):1456-65 [PubMed] Related Publications
The high mortality rate of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is associated with its fast-growing malignancy. In tumor microenvironments, certain GPCRs are coupled to Gα12 for signal transduction. Given the role of forkhead box O1 (FOXO1) in the inhibition of various tumors, this study investigated whether increase of Gα12 in HCC causes FOXO1 repression, and if so, whether this event occurs through microRNA dysregulation. Overexpression of an active mutant of Gα12 (Gα12QL) decreased FOXO1 levels, whereas knockdown of Gα12 had the opposite effect. Of the microRNAs targeting FOXO1, miR-135b levels were markedly increased by Gα12 signaling, which led to FOXO1 repression as shown by the experiments using mimic, antisense oligonucleotide or siRNA. Gα12QL increased the primary form of miR-135b by activating JunB (or c-Jun)/AP-1. Consistently, knockdown of JunB (or c-Jun) decreased miR-135b levels, thereby increasing FOXO1. Moreover, Gα12QL induced MDM2, the deficiency of which facilitated FOXO1 accumulation. In addition, Gα12QL repressed miR-194 cluster gene products (194/192/215), which contributed to MDM2-mediated FOXO1 repression. In functional assays, Gα12QL facilitated tumor cell growth with alterations in cell cycle-associated protein levels, which was antagonized by enforced expression of FOXO1. In human HCCs, FOXO1 levels were decreased as compared with the surrounding liver tissue. Moreover, decrease of FOXO1 or miR-194 was statistically significant between stages T1 and T2, whereas increase of miR-135b discriminated tumor stage T3a versus T1/T2. In conclusion, Gα12gep oncogene inhibits FOXO1, which may result from the inhibition of FOXO1 de novo synthesis by miR-135b in conjunction with MDM2-mediated destabilization of FOXO1.

Isikbay M, Otto K, Kregel S, et al.
Glucocorticoid receptor activity contributes to resistance to androgen-targeted therapy in prostate cancer.
Horm Cancer. 2014; 5(2):72-89 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2015 Related Publications
Despite new treatments for castrate-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC), the prognosis of patients with CRPC remains bleak due to acquired resistance to androgen receptor (AR)-directed therapy. The glucocorticoid receptor (GR) and AR share several transcriptional targets, including the anti-apoptotic genes serum and glucocorticoid-regulated kinase 1 (SGK1) and Map kinase phosphatase 1 (MKP1)/dual specificity phosphatase 1 (DUSP1). Because GR expression increases in a subset of primary prostate cancer (PC) following androgen deprivation therapy, we sought to determine whether GR activation can contribute to resistance to AR-directed therapy. We studied CWR-22Rv1 and LAPC4 AR/GR-expressing PC cell lines following treatment with combinations of the androgen R1881, AR antagonist MDV3100, GR agonist dexamethasone, GR antagonists mifepristone and CORT 122928, or the SGK1 inhibitor GSK650394. Cell lines stably expressing GR (NR3C1)-targeted shRNA or ectopic SGK1-Flag were also studied in vivo. GR activation diminished the effects of the AR antagonist MDV3100 on tumor cell viability. In addition, GR activation increased prostate-specific antigen (PSA) secretion and induced SGKI and MKP1/DUSP gene expression. Glucocorticoid-mediated cell viability was diminished by a GR antagonist or by co-treatment with the SGK1 inhibitor GSK650394. In vivo, GR depletion delayed castrate-resistant tumor formation, while SGK1-Flag-overexpressing PC xenografts displayed accelerated castrate-resistant tumor initiation, supporting a role for SGK1 in GR-mediated CRPC progression. We studied several PC models before and following treatment with androgen blockade and found that increased GR expression and activity contributed to tumor-promoting PC cell viability. Increased GR-regulated SGK1 expression appears, at least in part, to mediate enhanced PC cell survival. Therefore, GR and/or SGK1 inhibition may be useful adjuncts to AR blockade for treating CRPC.

Davidson B, Abeler VM, Førsund M, et al.
Gene expression signatures of primary and metastatic uterine leiomyosarcoma.
Hum Pathol. 2014; 45(4):691-700 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2015 Related Publications
Leiomyosarcoma (LMS) is the most common uterine sarcoma. Although the disease is relatively rare, it is responsible for considerable mortality due to frequent metastasis and chemoresistance. The molecular events related to LMS metastasis are unknown to date. The present study compared the global gene expression patterns of primary uterine LMSs and LMS metastases. Gene expression profiles of 13 primary and 15 metastatic uterine LMSs were analyzed using the HumanRef-8 BeadChip from Illumina. Differentially expressed candidate genes were validated using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and immunohistochemistry. To identify differently expressed genes between primary and metastatic tumors, we performed one-way analysis of variance with Benjamini-Hochberg correction. This led to identification of 203 unique probes that were significantly differentially expressed in the 2 tumor groups by greater than 1.58-fold with P < .01, of which 94 and 109 were overexpressed in primary and metastatic LMSs, respectively. Genes overexpressed in primary uterine LMSs included OSTN, NLGN4X, NLGN1, SLITRK4, MASP1, XRN2, ASS1, RORB, HRASLS, and TSPAN7. Genes overexpressed in LMS metastases included TNNT1, FOLR3, TDO2, CRYM, GJA1, TSPAN10, THBS1, SGK1, SHMT1, EGR2, and AGT. Quantitative real-time PCR confirmed significant anatomical site-related differences in FOLR3, OSTN, and NLGN4X levels; and immunohistochemistry showed significant differences in TDO2 expression. Gene expression profiling differentiates primary uterine LMSs from LMS metastases. The molecular signatures unique to primary and metastatic LMSs may aid in understanding tumor progression in this cancer and in providing a molecular basis for prognostic studies and therapeutic target discovery.

Weiler M, Blaes J, Pusch S, et al.
mTOR target NDRG1 confers MGMT-dependent resistance to alkylating chemotherapy.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014; 111(1):409-14 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2015 Related Publications
A hypoxic microenvironment induces resistance to alkylating agents by activating targets in the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway. The molecular mechanisms involved in this mTOR-mediated hypoxia-induced chemoresistance, however, are unclear. Here we identify the mTOR target N-myc downstream regulated gene 1 (NDRG1) as a key determinant of resistance toward alkylating chemotherapy, driven by hypoxia but also by therapeutic measures such as irradiation, corticosteroids, and chronic exposure to alkylating agents via distinct molecular routes involving hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1alpha, p53, and the mTOR complex 2 (mTORC2)/serum glucocorticoid-induced protein kinase 1 (SGK1) pathway. Resistance toward alkylating chemotherapy but not radiotherapy was dependent on NDRG1 expression and activity. In posttreatment tumor tissue of patients with malignant gliomas, NDRG1 was induced and predictive of poor response to alkylating chemotherapy. On a molecular level, NDRG1 bound and stabilized methyltransferases, chiefly O(6)-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT), a key enzyme for resistance to alkylating agents in glioblastoma patients. In patients with glioblastoma, MGMT promoter methylation in tumor tissue was not more predictive for response to alkylating chemotherapy in patients who received concomitant corticosteroids.

Fang BA, Kovačević Ž, Park KC, et al.
Molecular functions of the iron-regulated metastasis suppressor, NDRG1, and its potential as a molecular target for cancer therapy.
Biochim Biophys Acta. 2014; 1845(1):1-19 [PubMed] Related Publications
N-myc down-regulated gene 1 (NDRG1) is a known metastasis suppressor in multiple cancers, being also involved in embryogenesis and development, cell growth and differentiation, lipid biosynthesis and myelination, stress responses and immunity. In addition to its primary role as a metastasis suppressor, NDRG1 can also influence other stages of carcinogenesis, namely angiogenesis and primary tumour growth. NDRG1 is regulated by multiple effectors in normal and neoplastic cells, including N-myc, histone acetylation, hypoxia, cellular iron levels and intracellular calcium. Further, studies have found that NDRG1 is up-regulated in neoplastic cells after treatment with novel iron chelators, which are a promising therapy for effective cancer management. Although the pathways by which NDRG1 exerts its functions in cancers have been documented, the relationship between the molecular structure of this protein and its functions remains unclear. In fact, recent studies suggest that, in certain cancers, NDRG1 is post-translationally modified, possibly by the activity of endogenous trypsins, leading to a subsequent alteration in its metastasis suppressor activity. This review describes the role of this important metastasis suppressor and discusses interesting unresolved issues regarding this protein.

Skor MN, Wonder EL, Kocherginsky M, et al.
Glucocorticoid receptor antagonism as a novel therapy for triple-negative breast cancer.
Clin Cancer Res. 2013; 19(22):6163-72 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2015 Related Publications
PURPOSE: Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) accounts for 10% to 20% of newly diagnosed invasive breast cancer. Finding effective targets for chemotherapy-resistant TNBC has proven difficult in part because of TNBC's molecular heterogeneity. We have previously reported that likely because of the antiapoptotic activity of glucocorticoid receptor (GR) in estrogen receptor (ER)-negative breast epithelial and cancer cells, high GR expression/activity in early-stage TNBC significantly correlates with chemotherapy resistance and increased recurrence. We hypothesized that pretreatment with mifepristone, a GR antagonist, would potentiate the efficacy of chemotherapy in GR+ TNBCs by inhibiting the antiapoptotic signaling pathways of GR and increasing the cytotoxic efficiency of chemotherapy.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: TNBC cell apoptosis was examined in the context of physiologic glucocorticoid concentrations, chemotherapy, and/or pharmacologic concentrations of mifepristone. We used high-throughput live microscopy with continuous recording to measure apoptotic cells stained with a fluorescent dye and Western blot analysis to detect caspase-3 and PARP cleavage. The effect of mifepristone on GR-mediated gene expression was also measured. TNBC xenograft studies were performed in female severe combined immunodeficient (SCID) mice and tumors were measured following treatment with vehicle, paclitaxel, or mifepristone/paclitaxel.
RESULTS: We found that although mifepristone treatment alone had no significant effect on TNBC cell viability or clonogenicity in the absence of chemotherapy, the addition of mifepristone to dexamethasone/paclitaxel treatment significantly increased cytotoxicity and caspase-3/PARP cleavage. Mifepristone also antagonized GR-induced SGK1 and MKP1/DUSP1 gene expression while significantly augmenting paclitaxel-induced GR+ MDA-MB-231 xenograft tumor shrinkage in vivo.
CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that mifepristone pretreatment could be a useful strategy for increasing tumor cell apoptosis in chemotherapy-resistant GR+ TNBC.

Hosoya N, Sakumoto M, Nakamura Y, et al.
Proteomics identified nuclear N-myc downstream-regulated gene 1 as a prognostic tissue biomarker candidate in renal cell carcinoma.
Biochim Biophys Acta. 2013; 1834(12):2630-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
The aim of this study was to identify proteins with aberrant expression in clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC), and elucidate their clinical utilities. The protein expression profiles of primary ccRCC tumor tissues and neighboring non-tumor tissues were obtained from 9 patients by two-dimensional difference gel electrophoresis and mass spectrometry. Comparative analysis of 3771 protein spots led to the identification of 73 proteins that were expressed at aberrant levels in tumor tissues compared with non-tumor tissues. Among these 73 proteins, we further focused on N-myc downstream-regulated gene 1 protein (NDRG1). NDRG1 expression is regulated by members of myc family as well as by p53, HIF1A, and SGK1. The biological and clinical significance of NDRG1 is controversial for various malignancies and no detailed studies on NDRG1 have been reported in ccRCC until our study. For the 82 newly enrolled ccRCC patients, immunohistochemical analysis revealed a significant association between nuclear NDRG1 and favorable prognosis (p<0.05). Multivariate analysis demonstrated the role of NDRG1 as an independent factor of progression-free survival (p=0.01). Subsequent in vitro gene suppression assay demonstrated that NDRG1 silencing significantly enhanced cell proliferation and invasion of RCC cells. The cytotoxic effects of NDRG1 up-regulation induced by an iron chelator were also confirmed. These findings suggest that nuclear NDRG1 has tumor suppressive effects, and the NDRG1 expression may have clinical values in ccRCC. Nuclear NDRG1 may provide additional insights on molecular backgrounds of ccRCC progression, and contribute to the development of novel therapeutic strategy.

Sommer EM, Dry H, Cross D, et al.
Elevated SGK1 predicts resistance of breast cancer cells to Akt inhibitors.
Biochem J. 2013; 452(3):499-508 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2015 Related Publications
The majority of human cancers harbour mutations promoting activation of the Akt protein kinase, and Akt inhibitors are being evaluated in clinical trials. An important question concerns the understanding of the innate mechanisms that confer resistance of tumour cells to Akt inhibitors. SGK (serum- and glucocorticoid-regulated kinase) is closely related to Akt and controlled by identical upstream regulators {PI3K (phosphoinositide 3-kinase), PDK1 (phosphoinositide-dependent kinase 1) and mTORC2 [mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin) complex 2]}. Mutations that trigger activation of Akt would also stimulate SGK. Moreover, Akt and SGK possess analogous substrate specificities and are likely to phosphorylate overlapping substrates to promote proliferation. To investigate whether cancers possessing high SGK activity could possess innate resistance to Akt-specific inhibitors (that do not target SGK), we analysed SGK levels and sensitivity of a panel of breast cancer cells towards two distinct Akt inhibitors currently in clinical trials (AZD5363 and MK-2206). This revealed a number of Akt-inhibitor-resistant lines displaying markedly elevated SGK1 that also exhibited significant phosphorylation of the SGK1 substrate NDRG1 [N-Myc (neuroblastoma-derived Myc) downstream-regulated gene 1]. In contrast, most Akt-inhibitor-sensitive cell lines displayed low/undetectable levels of SGK1. Intriguingly, despite low SGK1 levels, several Akt-inhibitor-sensitive cells showed marked NDRG1 phosphorylation that was, unlike in the resistant cells, suppressed by Akt inhibitors. SGK1 knockdown markedly reduced proliferation of Akt-inhibitor-resistant, but not -sensitive, cells. Furthermore, treatment of Akt-inhibitor-resistant cells with an mTOR inhibitor suppressed proliferation and led to inhibition of SGK1. The results of the present study suggest that monitoring SGK1 levels as well as responses of NDRG1 phosphorylation to Akt inhibitor administration could have a use in predicting the sensitivity of tumours to compounds that target Akt. Our findings highlight the therapeutic potential that SGK inhibitors or dual Akt/SGK inhibitors might have for treatment of cancers displaying elevated SGK activity.

Amato R, Scumaci D, D'Antona L, et al.
Sgk1 enhances RANBP1 transcript levels and decreases taxol sensitivity in RKO colon carcinoma cells.
Oncogene. 2013; 32(38):4572-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
The serum- and glucocorticoid-regulated kinase (Sgk1) is essential for hormonal regulation of epithelial sodium channel-mediated sodium transport and is involved in the transduction of growth factor-dependent cell survival and proliferation signals. Growing evidence now points to Sgk1 as a key element in the development and/or progression of human cancer. To gain insight into the mechanisms through which Sgk1 regulates cell proliferation, we adopted a proteomic approach to identify up- or downregulated proteins after Sgk1-specific RNA silencing. Among several proteins, the abundance of which was found to be up- or downregulated upon Sgk1 silencing, we focused our attention of RAN-binding protein 1 (RANBP1), a major effector of the GTPase RAN. We report that Sgk1-dependent regulation of RANBP1 has functional consequences on both mitotic microtubule activity and taxol sensitivity of cancer cells.

Ronchi CL, Sbiera S, Leich E, et al.
Low SGK1 expression in human adrenocortical tumors is associated with ACTH-independent glucocorticoid secretion and poor prognosis.
J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2012; 97(12):E2251-60 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2015 Related Publications
CONTEXT: Using single-nucleotide polymorphism analysis, we observed allelic loss of the gene for serum glucocorticoid (GC) kinase 1 (SGK1), a GC-responsive kinase involved in multiple cellular functions, in a subset of cortisol-secreting adenomas.
OBJECTIVE: Our objective was to analyze SGK1 expression in adrenocortical tumors and to further characterize its role in ACTH-independent cortisol secretion, tumor progression, and prognosis.
DESIGN AND SETTING: Gene expression levels of SGK1, SGK3, and CTNNB1 (coding for β-catenin) and protein expression levels of SGK1, nuclear β-catenin, and phosphorylated AKT were determined in adrenocortical tumors and normal adrenal glands.
PATIENTS: A total of 227 adrenocortical tumors (40 adenomas and 187 carcinomas) and 25 normal adrenal tissues were included. Among them, 62 frozen tumor samples were used for mRNA analysis and 203 tumors were investigated on tissue microarrays or full standard slides by immunohistochemistry.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: We evaluated the relationship between SGK1 mRNA and/or protein levels and clinical parameters.
RESULTS: SGK1 mRNA levels were lower in cortisol-secreting than in nonsecreting tumors (P < 0.005). Nonsecreting neoplasias showed a significant correlation between SGK1 and CTNNB1 mRNA levels (P < 0.001; r = 0.57). Low SGK1 protein levels, but not nuclear β-catenin and phosphorylated AKT, were associated with poor overall survival in patients with adrenocortical carcinoma (P < 0.005; hazard ratio = 2.0; 95% confidence interval = 1.24-3.24), independent of tumor stage and GC secretion.
CONCLUSION: Low SGK1 expression is related to ACTH-independent cortisol secretion in adrenocortical tumors and is a new prognostic factor in adrenocortical carcinoma.

Qi W, Huang X, Neumann-Haefelin E, et al.
Cell-nonautonomous signaling of FOXO/DAF-16 to the stem cells of Caenorhabditis elegans.
PLoS Genet. 2012; 8(8):e1002836 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2015 Related Publications
In Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans), the promotion of longevity by the transcription factor DAF-16 requires reduced insulin/IGF receptor (IIR) signaling or the ablation of the germline, although the reason for the negative impact of germ cells is unknown. FOXO/DAF-16 activity inhibits germline proliferation in both daf-2 mutants and gld-1 tumors. In contrast to its function as a germline tumor suppressor, we now provide evidence that somatic DAF-16 in the presence of IIR signaling can also result in tumorigenic activity, which counteracts robust lifespan extension. In contrast to the cell-autonomous IIR signaling, which is required for larval germline proliferation, activation of DAF-16 in the hypodermis results in hyperplasia of the germline and disruption of the surrounding basement membrane. SHC-1 adaptor protein and AKT-1 kinase antagonize, whereas AKT-2 and SGK-1 kinases promote, this cell-nonautonomous DAF-16 function. Our data suggest that a functional balance of DAF-16 activities in different tissues determines longevity and reveals a novel, cell-nonautonomous role of FOXO/DAF-16 to affect stem cells.

Pant A, Lee II, Lu Z, et al.
Inhibition of AKT with the orally active allosteric AKT inhibitor, MK-2206, sensitizes endometrial cancer cells to progestin.
PLoS One. 2012; 7(7):e41593 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2015 Related Publications
Progestin resistance is a major obstacle to treating early stage, well-differentiated endometrial cancer as well as recurrent endometrial cancer. The mechanism behind the suboptimal response to progestin is not well understood. The PTEN tumor suppressor gene is frequently mutated in type I endometrial cancers and this mutation results in hyperactivation of the PI3K/AKT pathway. We hypothesized that increased activation of AKT promotes an inadequate response to progestins in endometrial cancer cells. Ishikawa cells stably transfected with progesterone receptor B (PRB23 cells) were treated with the AKT inhibitor, MK-2206, which effectively decreased levels of p(Ser473)-AKT in a dose-dependent (10 nM to 1 uM) and time-dependent manner (0.5 h to 24 h). MK-2206 inhibited levels of p(Thr308)-AKT and a downstream target, p(Thr246)-PRAS40, but did not change levels of p(Thr202/Tyr204)ERK or p(Thr13/Tyr185)SAPK/JNK, demonstrating specificity of MK-2206 for AKT. Additionally, MK-2206 treatment of PRB23 cells resulted in a significant increase in levels of progesterone receptor B (PRB) protein. Microarray analysis of PRB23 cells identified PDK4 as the most highly upregulated gene among 70 upregulated genes in response to R5020. Inhibition of AKT further upregulated progestin-mediated expression of PDK4 but did not affect another progestin-responsive gene, SGK1. Treatment of PRB23 cells with R5020 and MK-2206 independently decreased viability of cells while the combination of R5020 and MK-2206 caused the greatest decrease in cell viability. Furthermore, mice with xenografted tumors treated with MK-2206 alone or with progesterone alone exhibited modest reductions in their tumor volume. The largest decrease in tumor size was observed in the mice treated with both MK-2206 and progesterone; these tumors exhibited the least proliferation (Ki67) and the most apoptosis (cleaved caspase-3) of all the treatment groups. In summary, inhibition of AKT stabilizes the Progesterone Receptor B and augments progesterone response in endometrial cancer cells that have hyperactivated AKT.

Yap TA, Walton MI, Grimshaw KM, et al.
AT13148 is a novel, oral multi-AGC kinase inhibitor with potent pharmacodynamic and antitumor activity.
Clin Cancer Res. 2012; 18(14):3912-23 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: Deregulated phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase pathway signaling through AGC kinases including AKT, p70S6 kinase, PKA, SGK and Rho kinase is a key driver of multiple cancers. The simultaneous inhibition of multiple AGC kinases may increase antitumor activity and minimize clinical resistance compared with a single pathway component.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: We investigated the detailed pharmacology and antitumor activity of the novel clinical drug candidate AT13148, an oral ATP-competitive multi-AGC kinase inhibitor. Gene expression microarray studies were undertaken to characterize the molecular mechanisms of action of AT13148.
RESULTS: AT13148 caused substantial blockade of AKT, p70S6K, PKA, ROCK, and SGK substrate phosphorylation and induced apoptosis in a concentration and time-dependent manner in cancer cells with clinically relevant genetic defects in vitro and in vivo. Antitumor efficacy in HER2-positive, PIK3CA-mutant BT474 breast, PTEN-deficient PC3 human prostate cancer, and PTEN-deficient MES-SA uterine tumor xenografts was shown. We show for the first time that induction of AKT phosphorylation at serine 473 by AT13148, as reported for other ATP-competitive inhibitors of AKT, is not a therapeutically relevant reactivation step. Gene expression studies showed that AT13148 has a predominant effect on apoptosis genes, whereas the selective AKT inhibitor CCT128930 modulates cell-cycle genes. Induction of upstream regulators including IRS2 and PIK3IP1 as a result of compensatory feedback loops was observed.
CONCLUSIONS: The clinical candidate AT13148 is a novel oral multi-AGC kinase inhibitor with potent pharmacodynamic and antitumor activity, which shows a distinct mechanism of action from other AKT inhibitors. AT13148 will now be assessed in a first-in-human phase I trial.

Feng Z, Liu L, Zhang C, et al.
Chronic restraint stress attenuates p53 function and promotes tumorigenesis.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012; 109(18):7013-8 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2015 Related Publications
Epidemiological studies strongly suggest that chronic psychological stress promotes tumorigenesis. However, its direct link in vivo and the underlying mechanisms that cause this remain unclear. This study provides direct evidence that chronic stress promotes tumorigenesis in vivo; chronic restraint, a well-established mouse model to induce chronic stress, greatly promotes ionizing radiation (IR)-induced tumorigenesis in p53(+/-) mice. The tumor suppressor protein p53 plays a central role in tumor prevention. Loss or attenuation of p53 function contriubutes greatly to tumorigenesis. We found that chronic restraint decreases the levels and function of p53 in mice, and furthermore, promotes the growth of human xenograft tumors in a largely p53-dependent manner. Our results show that glucocorticoids elevated during chronic restraint mediate the effect of chronic restraint on p53 through the induction of serum- and glucocorticoid-induced protein kinase (SGK1), which in turn increases MDM2 activity and decreases p53 function. Taken together, this study demonstrates that chronic stress promotes tumorigenesis in mice, and the attenuation of p53 function is an important part of the underlying mechanism, which can be mediated by glucocortcoids elevated during chronic restraint.

Ronchi CL, Leich E, Sbiera S, et al.
Single nucleotide polymorphism microarray analysis in cortisol-secreting adrenocortical adenomas identifies new candidate genes and pathways.
Neoplasia. 2012; 14(3):206-18 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2015 Related Publications
The genetic mechanisms underlying adrenocortical tumor development are still largely unknown. We used high-resolution single nucleotide polymorphism microarrays (Affymetrix SNP 6.0) to detect copy number alterations (CNAs) and copy-neutral losses of heterozygosity (cnLOH) in 15 cortisol-secreting adrenocortical adenomas with matched blood samples. We focused on microalterations aiming to discover new candidate genes involved in early tumorigenesis and/or autonomous cortisol secretion. We identified 962 CNAs with a median of 18 CNAs per sample. Half of them involved noncoding regions, 89% were less than 100 kb, and 28% were found in at least two samples. The most frequently gained regions were 5p15.33, 6q16.1, 7p22.3-22.2, 8q24.3, 9q34.2-34.3, 11p15.5, 11q11, 12q12, 16q24.3, 20p11.1-20q21.11, and Xq28 (≥20% of cases), most of them being identified in the same three adenomas. These regions contained among others genes like NOTCH1, CYP11B2, HRAS, and IGF2. Recurrent losses were less common and smaller than gains, being mostly localized at 1p, 6q, and 11q. Pathway analysis revealed that Notch signaling was the most frequently altered. We identified 46 recurrent CNAs that each affected a single gene (31 gains and 15 losses), including genes involved in steroidogenesis (CYP11B1) or tumorigenesis (CTNNB1, EPHA7, SGK1, STIL, FHIT). Finally, 20 small cnLOH in four cases affecting 15 known genes were found. Our findings provide the first high-resolution genome-wide view of chromosomal changes in cortisol-secreting adenomas and identify novel candidate genes, such as HRAS, EPHA7, and SGK1. Furthermore, they implicate that the Notch1 signaling pathway might be involved in the molecular pathogenesis of adrenocortical tumors.

Lang F, Stournaras C
Serum and glucocorticoid inducible kinase, metabolic syndrome, inflammation, and tumor growth.
Hormones (Athens). 2013 Apr-Jun; 12(2):160-71 [PubMed] Related Publications
Serum-and-glucocorticoid-inducible-kinase-1 (SGK1) is under regulation of several hormones, mediators and cell stressors. More specifically, SGK1 expression is particularly sensitive to glucocorticoids, mineralocorticoids, and TGFβ. Moreover, SGK1 expression is exquisitely sensitive to hypertonicity, hyperglycemia, and ischemia. SGK1 is activated by insulin and growth factors via phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase, 3-phosphoinositide dependent-kinase PDK1, and mTOR. SGK1 up-regulates the Na⁺/K⁺-ATPase, a variety of carriers (e.g. NCC, NKCC, NHE1, NHE3, SGLT1, several amino acid transporters) and many ion channels (e.g. ENaC, SCN5A, TRPV4-6, Orai1/STIM1, ROMK, KCNE1/KCNQ1, GluR6, CFTR). SGK1 further up-regulates a number of enzymes (e.g. glycogen-synthase-kinase-3, ubiquitin-ligase Nedd4-2), and transcription factors (e.g. forkhead-transcription-factor FOXO3a, β-catenin, nuclear-factor-kappa-B NFκB). SGK1 sensitive functions contribute to regulation of epithelial transport, excitability, degranulation, matrix protein deposition, coagulation, platelet aggregation, migration, cell proliferation, and apoptosis. Apparently, SGK1 is not required for housekeeping functions, as the phenotype of SGK1 knockout mice is mild. However, excessive SGK1 expression and activity participates in the pathophysiology of several disorders, including hypertension, obesity, diabetes, thrombosis, stroke, inflammation, autoimmune disease, fibrosis, and tumor growth. A SGK1 gene variant (prevalence ~3-5% prevalence in Caucasians, ~10% in Africans) predisposes to hypertension, stroke, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Moreover, excessive salt intake and/or excessive release of glucocorticoids, mineralocorticoids, and TGFβ up-regulates SGK1 expression thus predisposing to SGK1-related diseases.

Abbruzzese C, Mattarocci S, Pizzuti L, et al.
Determination of SGK1 mRNA in non-small cell lung cancer samples underlines high expression in squamous cell carcinomas.
J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2012; 31:4 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Lung cancer represents the most frequent cause of death for cancer. In non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), which accounts for the vast majority of this disease, only early detection and treatment, when possible, may significantly affect patient's prognosis. An important role in NSCLC malignancy is attributed to the signal transduction pathways involving PI3Kinase, with consequent activation of the AKT family factors. The serum and glucocorticoid kinase (SGK) factors, which share high structural and functional homologies with the AKT factors, are a family of ubiquitously expressed serine/threonine kinases under the control of cellular stress and hormones. SGK1 is the most represented SGK member.
METHODS: By means of immunohistochemistry and quantitative real-time PCR, we determined SGK1 protein and mRNA expression in a cohort of 66 formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded NSCLC surgical samples. All samples belonged to patients with a well-documented clinical history.
RESULTS: mRNA expression was significantly higher in squamous cell carcinomas, and correlated with several clinical prognostic indicators, being elevated in high-grade tumors and in tumors with bigger size and worse clinical stage. No correlation was found between SGK1 protein expression and these clinical parameters.
CONCLUSIONS: This explorative analysis of SGK1 expression in NSCLC samples highlights the potential role of this factor in NSCLC patients' prognosis. Moreover, the higher expression in the squamous cell carcinoma subtype opens new therapeutic possibilities in this NSCLC subtype by designing specific kinase inhibitors.

Yemelyanov A, Bhalla P, Yang X, et al.
Differential targeting of androgen and glucocorticoid receptors induces ER stress and apoptosis in prostate cancer cells: a novel therapeutic modality.
Cell Cycle. 2012; 11(2):395-406 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2015 Related Publications
Androgen (AR) and glucocorticoid (GR) receptor signaling play opposing roles in prostate tumorigenesis: in prostate, AR acts as an oncogene, and GR is a tumor suppressor. Recently, we found that non-steroidal phyto-chemical Compound A (CpdA) is AR/GR modulator acting as anti-inflammatory anti-androgen. CpdA inhibits AR and prevents GR transactivation while enhancing GR transrepression. GR and AR are controlled by proteasomal degradation. We found that prolonged exposure of LNCaP, LNCaP-GR, DU145 and PC3 prostate carcinoma (PCa) cells to proteasome inhibitor Bortezomib (BZ) caused AR degradation and GR accumulation. BZ enhanced CpdA ability to inhibit AR and to augment GR transrepression. We also found that CpdA+BZ differentially regulated GR/AR to cooperatively suppress PCa cell growth and survival and to induce endoplasmic reticulum stress (ERS). Importantly, CpdA+BZ differentially regulated GR-responsive genes. CpdA+BZ blocked activation of glucocorticoid-responsive pro-survival genes, including SGK1, but activated BZ-induced ERS-related genes BIP/HSPA5 and CHOP /GADD153. Using ChIP, we showed that SGK1, BIP/HSPA5 and CHOP regulation was due to effects of CpdA and CpdA+BZ on GR loading on their promoters. We also found that AR and GR are abundant in advanced PCa from patients treated by androgen ablation and/or chemotherapy: 56% of carcinomas from treated patients expressed both receptors, and the other 27% expressed either GR or AR. Overall, our data validate the concept of dual AR/GR targeting in prostate cancer (PC) and suggest that BZ combination with dual-target steroid receptor modulator CpdA has high potential for PC therapy.

Miller TW, Rexer BN, Garrett JT, Arteaga CL
Mutations in the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase pathway: role in tumor progression and therapeutic implications in breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Res. 2011; 13(6):224 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2015 Related Publications
Mutations in genes that constitute the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) pathway occur in >70% of breast cancers. Clinical and experimental evidence suggest that PI3K pathway activation promotes resistance to some of the current breast cancer therapies. PI3K is a major signaling hub downstream of human epidermal growth factor receptor (HER)2 and other receptor tyrosine kinases. PI3K activates AKT, serum/glucocorticoid regulated kinase (SGK), phosphoinositide-dependent kinase 1 (PDK1), mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), and several other molecules involved in cell cycle progression and survival. In estrogen receptor (ER)+ breast cancer cells, PI3K activation promotes estrogen-dependent and -independent ER transcriptional activity, which, in turn, may contribute to anti-estrogen resistance. Activation of this pathway also confers resistance to HER2-targeted therapies. In experimental models of resistance to anti-estrogens and HER2 inhibitors, pharmacological inhibition of PI3K/AKT/mTOR has been shown to overcome drug resistance. Early clinical data suggest that combined inhibition of either HER2 or ER plus inhibition of the PI3K pathway might be an effective strategy for treatment of respective HER2+ and ER+ breast cancers resistant to standard therapies. Here, we review alterations in the PI3K pathway in breast cancer, their association with therapeutic resistance, and the state of clinical development of PI3K pathway inhibitors.

Baskin R, Sayeski PP
Angiotensin II mediates cell survival through upregulation and activation of the serum and glucocorticoid inducible kinase 1.
Cell Signal. 2012; 24(2):435-42 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2015 Related Publications
The serum- and glucocorticoid-inducible kinase 1 (SGK1) is known to regulate a wide variety of cellular processes, including renal sodium retention and cell survival. Angiotensin II (Ang II) is one of the many signaling molecules capable of regulating SGK1 expression, and is also known to impact cell survival. Here, we examined the role of SGK1 in Ang II-mediated cell survival. We hypothesized that Ang II protects cells from apoptosis by upregulating and activating SGK1. To test this, we examined the effects of Ang II stimulation on SGK1 expression and downstream signaling. We also examined the effects of Ang II treatment and siRNA-mediated SGK1 knockdown on apoptosis after serum starvation. We found that after 2h of Ang II treatment, SGK1 mRNA expression was increased approximately 2-fold. This induction was sensitive to reductions in intracellular calcium levels after pretreatment with BAPTA-AM, but insensitive to the L-type calcium channel blocker verapamil. SGK1 induction was also sensitive to the tyrosine kinase inhibitor genistein. Ang II treatment also caused a rapid increase in the level of phosphorylation of SGK1 at Ser422 and Thr256, and Ser422 phosphorylation was rapamycin-sensitive. We found that Ang II treatment was protective against serum starvation-induced apoptosis, and this protective effect was significantly blunted when SGK1 was silenced via siRNA. Lastly, Ang II induced FOXO3A phosphorylation in an SGK1-dependent manner, thereby reducing the pro-apoptotic actions of FOXO3A. Overall, these results indicate that Ang II upregulates and activates SGK1, leading to increased cell survival via multiple, non-redundant mechanisms.

Siddique HR, Mishra SK, Karnes RJ, Saleem M
Lupeol, a novel androgen receptor inhibitor: implications in prostate cancer therapy.
Clin Cancer Res. 2011; 17(16):5379-91 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: Conventional therapies to treat prostate cancer (CaP) of androgen-dependent phenotype (ADPC) and castration-resistant phenotype (CRPC) are deficient in outcome which has necessitated a need to identify those agents that could target AR for both disease types. We provide mechanism-based evidence that lupeol (Lup-20(29)-en-3b-ol) is a potent inhibitor of androgen receptor (AR) in vitro and in vivo.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: Normal prostate epithelial cell (RWPE-1), LAPC4 (wild functional AR/ADPC), LNCaP (mutant functional/AR/ADPC), and C4-2b (mutant functional/AR/CRPC) cells were used to test the anti-AR activity of lupeol. Cells grown under androgen-rich environment and treated with lupeol were tested for proliferation, AR transcriptional activity, AR competitive ligand binding, AR-DNA binding, and AR-ARE/target gene binding. Furthermore, in silico molecular modeling for lupeol-AR binding was done. Athymic mice bearing C4-2b and LNCaP cell-originated tumors were treated intraperitoneally with lupeol (40 mg/kg; 3 times/wk) and tumor growth and surrogate biomarkers were evaluated. To assess bioavailability, lupeol serum levels were measured.
RESULTS: Lupeol significantly inhibited R1881 (androgen analogue) induced (i) transcriptional activity of AR and (ii) expression of PSA. Lupeol (i) competed antagonistically with androgen for AR, (ii) blocked the binding of AR to AR-responsive genes including PSA, TIPARP, SGK, and IL-6, and (iii) inhibited the recruitment of RNA Pol II to target genes. Lupeol sensitized CRPC cells to antihormone therapy. High-performance liquid chromatography analysis showed that lupeol is bioavailable to mice. Lupeol inhibited the tumorigenicity of both ADPC and CRPC cells in animals. Serum and tumor tissues exhibited reduced PSA levels.
CONCLUSION: Lupeol, an effective AR inhibitor, could be developed as a potential agent to treat human CaP.

Raimondi C, Falasca M
Targeting PDK1 in cancer.
Curr Med Chem. 2011; 18(18):2763-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Abnormal activation of phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) signalling is very common in cancer, leading to deregulation of several intracellular processes normally controlled by this enzyme, including cell survival, growth, proliferation and migration. Mutations in the gene encoding the tumour suppressor phosphatase and tensin homologue deleted on chromosome 10 (PTEN), which leads to uncontrolled activation of the PI3K pathway, are reported in different cancers. Among the downstream effectors of PI3Ks, 3- phosphoinositide-dependent protein kinase 1 (PDK1) and protein kinase B (PKB)/Akt have a key role in several cancer types. More recent data indicate that alteration of PDK1 is a critical component of oncogenic PI3K signalling in breast cancer, suggesting that inhibition of PDK1 can inhibit breast cancer progression. PDK1 has an essential role in regulating cell migration especially in the context of PTEN deficiency. Downregulation of PDK1 levels inhibits migration and experimental metastasis of human breast cancer cells. PDK1 activates a large number of proteins, including Akt, some PKC isoforms, S6K and SGK. Data also reveal that PDK1 is oncogenic and this is dependent on PI3K pathway. Therefore, accumulating evidence demonstrates that PDK1 is a valid therapeutic target and suggests that PDK1 inhibitors may be useful to prevent cancer progression and abnormal tissue dissemination. This review will focus on published data on the role of PDK1 in cancer and approaches used to inhibit PDK1.

Berger MJ, Minnerath SR, Adams SD, et al.
Gene expression changes with differentiation of cord blood stem cells to respiratory epithelial cells: a preliminary observation.
Stem Cell Res Ther. 2011; 2(2):19 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2015 Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: Owing to wide availability, low cost and avoidance of ethical concerns, umbilical cord blood (UCB) provides an attractive source of stem cells for investigational and therapeutic uses. In this study, we sought to characterize the gene expression changes as stem cells from UCB differentiate toward alveolar type II pneumocytes (ATII).
METHODS: Control and experimental cells were cultured in maintenance medium (mesenchymal stem cell growth medium) or differentiation medium (small airway growth medium (SAGM)), respectively, for 8 days. Total RNA was isolated from control and experimental groups for gene expression profiling and real-time polymerase chain reaction assay.
RESULTS: Analysis of only mixed cell lines (n = 2) with parameters including a P value of 0.01 and an intergroup gap of 2.0 yielded a set of 373 differentially expressed genes. Prominently upregulated genes included several genes associated with ATII cells and also lung cancers: ALDH3A1, VDR and CHKA. Several upregulated genes have been shown to be integral or related to ATII functioning: SGK1, HSD17B11 and LEPR. Finally, several upregulated genes appear to play a role in lung cancers, including FDXR and GP96. Downregulated genes appear to be associated with bone, muscle and central nervous system tissues as well as other widespread tissues.
CONCLUSIONS: To the best of our knowledge, this accounting of the gene expression changes associated with the differentiation of a human UCB-derived stem cell toward an ATII cell represents the first such effort. Dissecting which components of SAGM affect specific gene regulation events is warranted.

Fagerli UM, Ullrich K, Stühmer T, et al.
Serum/glucocorticoid-regulated kinase 1 (SGK1) is a prominent target gene of the transcriptional response to cytokines in multiple myeloma and supports the growth of myeloma cells.
Oncogene. 2011; 30(28):3198-206 [PubMed] Related Publications
Multiple myeloma (MM) is a paradigm for a malignant disease that exploits external stimuli of the microenvironment for growth and survival. A thorough understanding of the complex interactions between malignant plasma cells and their surrounding requires a detailed analysis of the transcriptional response of myeloma cells to environmental signals. We determined the changes in gene expression induced by interleukin (IL)-6, tumor necrosis factor-α, IL-21 or co-culture with bone marrow stromal cells in myeloma cell lines. Among a limited set of genes that were consistently activated in response to growth factors, a prominent transcriptional target of cytokine-induced signaling in myeloma cells was the gene encoding the serine/threonine kinase serum/glucocorticoid-regulated kinase 1 (SGK1), which is a down-stream effector of PI3-kinase. We could demonstrate a rapid, strong and sustained induction of SGK1 in the cell lines INA-6, ANBL-6, IH-1, OH-2 and MM.1S as well as in primary myeloma cells. Pharmacologic inhibition of the Janus kinase/signal transducer and activator of transcription (JAK/STAT) pathway abolished STAT3 phosphorylation and SGK1 induction. In addition, small hairpin RNA (shRNA)-mediated knock-down of STAT3 reduced basal and induced SGK1 levels. Furthermore, downregulation of SGK1 by shRNAs resulted in decreased proliferation of myeloma cell lines and reduced cell numbers. On the molecular level, this was reflected by the induction of cell cycle inhibitory genes, for example, CDKNA1/p21, whereas positively acting factors such as CDK6 and RBL2/p130 were downregulated. Our results indicate that SGK1 is a highly cytokine-responsive gene in myeloma cells promoting their malignant growth.

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