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Gephyrin suppresses lung squamous cell carcinoma development by reducing mTOR pathway activation

Authors Zhang X, Cheng D, Liu Y, Wu Y, He Z

Received 6 February 2019

Accepted for publication 24 April 2019

Published 7 June 2019 Volume 2019:11 Pages 5333—5341


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Antonella D'Anneo

Xiang Zhang,1,2 Dezhi Cheng,1,2 Yu Liu,1,2 Yuanbo Wu,2 Zhifeng He1,2

1Department of Thoracic Surgery, The First Affiliated Hospital of Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou, 325000, People’s Republic of China; 2Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, The First Affiliated Hospital of Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou, 325000, People’s Republic of China

Background: The mTOR pathway is altered in a multitude of cancers, including lung cancer; however, abnormal activation in this pathway is less common in lung adenocarcinoma (LUAD) than in lung squamous cell carcinoma (LUSC). Gephyrin is a highly conserved and widely expressed ancient protein in vertebrate tissues. Its role and molecular mechanism in lung cancer development are largely unknown.
Method: We analyzed the expression profile of gephyrin and overall survival rates in LUAD and LUSC. The LUSC cells (H520 and SK-MES-1) were transfected with pLV-gephyrin to establish gephyrin stable overexpression cell lines. Real-time quantitative PCR and Western blot were performed to detect the mRNA and protein levels. The cell growth and cell cycle were detected by the MTT assay and flow cytometry. Finally, a xenograft tumor model was established to determine cell tumorigenesis in vivo.
Results: Our results show that gephyrin was reduced in LUAD and LUSC, and its low expression in LUSC patients indicated poor prognosis. Gephyrin overexpression suppressed LUSC cell proliferation, arrested cell cycle progression, and decreased the expression of cell-cycle related proteins such as cyclin D1, cyclin-dependent kinase-2 (CDK2), and proliferation-related protein proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA). Conversely, knockdown of gephyrin promoted LUSC cell growth. Moreover, gephyrin reduced mTOR pathway activation to inhibit cyclin D1 and CDK2 translation. Mechanistically, gephyrin suppressed mTOR pathway activation by promoting mTOR degradation. Furthermore, gephyrin overexpression suppressed LUSC tumorigenesis.
Conclusion: Gephyrin suppressed LUSC development by reducing mTOR pathway activation, implicating gephyrin as a potential molecular target for LUSC management.

Keywords: gephyrin, lung squamous cell carcinoma, mTOR pathway, degradation

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