Research Papers:

FOXM1 regulates expression of eukaryotic elongation factor 2 kinase and promotes proliferation, invasion and tumorgenesis of human triple negative breast cancer cells

Zuhal Hamurcu, Ahmed Ashour, Nermin Kahraman and Bulent Ozpolat _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:16619-16635. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.7672

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Zuhal Hamurcu1,2,3, Ahmed Ashour1, Nermin Kahraman1, Bulent Ozpolat1,4

1Department of Experimental Therapeutics, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA

2Faculty of Medicine, Department of Medical Biology, Erciyes University, Kayseri, Turkey

3Betül-Ziya Eren Genome and Stem Cell Center, Erciyes University, Kayseri, Turkey

4Center for RNA Interference and Non-Coding RNA, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA

Correspondence to:

Bulent Ozpolat, e-mail: Bozpolat@mdanderson.org

Keywords: breast cancer, triple-negative breast cancer, TNBC, FOXM1, eEF2-kinase

Received: June 16, 2015     Accepted: January 06, 2016     Published: February 24, 2016


Eukaryotic elongation factor 2 kinase (eEF2K), an emerging molecular target for cancer therapy, contributes to cancer proliferation, cell survival, tumorigenesis, and invasion, disease progression and drug resistance. Although eEF2K is highly up-regulated in various cancers, the mechanism of gene regulation has not been elucidated. In this study, we examined the role of Forkhead Box M1 (FOXM1) proto-oncogenic transcription factor in triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) cells and the regulation of eEF2K. We found that FOXM1 is highly upregulated in TNBC and its knockdown by RNA interference (siRNA) significantly inhibited eEF2K expression and suppressed cell proliferation, colony formation, migration, invasion and induced apoptotic cell death, recapitulating the effects of eEF2K inhibition. Knockdown of FOXM1 inhibited regulators of cell cycle, migration/invasion and survival, including cyclin D1, Src and MAPK-ERK signaling pathways, respectively. We also demonstrated that FOXM1 (1B and 1C isoforms) directly binds to and transcriptionally regulates eEF2K gene expression by chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) and luciferase gene reporter assays. Furthermore, in vivo inhibition of FOXM1 by liposomal siRNA-nanoparticles suppressed growth of MDA-MB-231 TNBC tumor xenografts in orthotopic models. In conclusion, our study provides the first evidence about the transcriptional regulation of eEF2K in TNBC and the role of FOXM1 in mediating breast cancer cell proliferation, survival, migration/invasion, progression and tumorgenesis and highlighting the potential of FOXM1/eEF2K axis as a molecular target in breast and other cancers.

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