Rapamycin can restore the negative regulatory function of transforming growth factor beta 1 in high grade lymphomas

Anna Sebestyén, Ágnes Márk, Melinda Hajdu, Noémi Nagy, Anna Molnár, Gyula Végső, Gábor Barna, László Kopper
Cytokine 2015, 73 (2): 219-24
TGF-β1 (transforming growth factor beta 1) is a negative regulator of lymphocytes, inhibiting proliferation and switching on the apoptotic program in normal lymphoid cells. Lymphoma cells often lose their sensitivity to proapoptotic/anti-proliferative regulators such as TGF-β1. Rapamycin can influence both mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin) and TGF-β signaling, and through these pathways it is able to enhance TGF-β induced anti-proliferative and apoptotic responses. In the present work we investigated the effect of rapamycin and TGF-β1 combination on cell growth and on TGF-β and mTOR signalling events in lymphoma cells. Rapamycin, an inhibitor of mTORC1 (mTOR complex 1) did not elicit apoptosis in lymphoma cells; however, the combination of rapamycin with exogenous TGF-β1 induced apoptosis and restored TGF-β1 dependent apoptotic machinery in several lymphoma cell lines with reduced TGF-β sensitivity in vitro. In parallel, the phosphorylation of p70 ribosomal S6 kinase (p70S6K) and ribosomal S6 protein, targets of mTORC1, was completely eliminated. Knockdown of Smad signalling by Smad4 siRNA had no influence on apoptosis induced by the rapamycin+TGF-β1, suggesting that this effect is independent of Smad signalling. However, apoptosis induction was dependent on early protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) activity, and in part on caspases. Rapamycin+TGF-β1 induced apoptosis was not completely eliminated by a caspase inhibitor. These results suggest that high mTOR activity contributes to TGF-β resistance and lowering mTORC1 kinase activity may provide a tool in high grade B-cell lymphoma therapy by restoring the sensitivity to normally available regulators such as TGF-β1.

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