PTEN loss promotes rasHa-mediated papillomatogenesis via dual up-regulation of AKT activity and cell cycle deregulation but malignant conversion proceeds via PTEN-associated pathways

Denggao Yao, Claire L Alexander, Jean A Quinn, Michael J Porter, Hong Wu, David A Greenhalgh
Cancer Research 2006 February 1, 66 (3): 1302-12
PTEN tumor suppressor gene failure in ras(Ha)-activated skin carcinogenesis was investigated by mating exon 5 floxed-PTEN (Delta5PTEN) mice to HK1.ras mice that expressed a RU486-inducible cre recombinase (K14.creP). PTEN inactivation in K14.cre/PTEN(flx/flx) keratinocytes resulted in epidermal hyperplasia/hyperkeratosis and novel 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA)-promoted papillomas, whereas HK1.ras/K14.cre/PTEN(flx/flx) cohorts displayed a rapid onset of papillomatogenesis due to a synergism of increased AKT activity and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) elevation. High 5-bromo-4-deoxyuridine labeling in Delta5PTEN papillomas showed that a second promotion mechanism centered on failures in cell cycle control. Elevated cyclin D1 was associated with both HK1.ras/ERK- and Delta5PTEN-mediated AKT signaling, whereas cyclin E2 overexpression seemed dependent on PTEN loss. Spontaneous HK1.ras/Delta5PTEN malignant conversion was rare, whereas TPA promotion resulted in conversion with high frequency. On comparison with all previous HK1.ras carcinomas, such TPA-induced carcinomas expressed atypical retention of keratin K1 and lack of K13, a unique marker profile exhibited by TPA-induced K14.cre/PTEN(flx/flx) papillomas that also lacked endogenous c-ras(Ha) activation. Moreover, in all PTEN-null tumors, levels of ras(Ha)-associated total ERK protein became reduced, whereas phosphorylated ERK and cyclin D1 were lowered in late-stage papillomas returning to elevated levels, alongside increased cyclin E2 expression, in TPA-derived carcinomas. Thus, during early papillomatogenesis, PTEN loss promotes ras(Ha) initiation via elevation of AKT activity and synergistic failures in cyclin regulation. However, in progression, reduced ras(Ha)-associated ERK protein and activity, increased Delta5PTEN-associated cyclin E2 expression, and unique K1/K13 profiles following TPA treatment suggest that PTEN loss, rather than ras(Ha) activation, gives rise to a population of cells with greater malignant potential.

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