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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Phosphatidylethanolamine-binding protein 4 promotes lung cancer cells proliferation and invasion via PI3K/Akt/mTOR axis

Guiping Yu, Bin Huang, Guoqiang Chen, Yedong Mi
Journal of Thoracic Disease 2015, 7 (10): 1806-16
26623104

BACKGROUND: While phosphatidylethanolamine-binding protein 4 (PEBP4) is a key factor in the malignant proliferation and metastasis of tumor cells, the exact regulatory network governing its roles remains unclear. This study was designed to investigate the effect of PEBP4 on PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway and explore its molecular network that governs the proliferation and metastasis of tumor cells.

METHODS: After the recombinant plasmid pcDNA3.1-PEBP4 was constructed, the recombinant plasmid pcDNA3.1-PEBP4 and PEBP4-targeting siRNA were transfected into lung cancer HCC827 cell line. The expressions of PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway components in HCC827 cells in each group were determined using Western blotting. In the HCC827 cells, the effect of PI3K pathway inhibitor LY294002 on the expressions of PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway components under the effect of PEBP4 was determined using Western blotting, and the effects of LY294002 on the cell viability, proliferation, and migration capabilities under the overexpression of PEBP4 were determined using MTT method, flow cytometry, and Transwell migration assay. Furthermore, the effect of mTOR inhibitor rapamycin (RAPA) on the expressions of PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway components under the effect of PEBP4 was determined using Western blotting, and the effects of RAPA on the cell viability, proliferation, and migration capabilities under the overexpression of PEBP4 were determined using MTT method, flow cytometry, and Transwell migration assay.

RESULTS: As shown by Western blotting, the protein expressions of p-Akt and phosphorylated mTOR (p-mTOR) were significantly higher in the pcDNA3.1-PEBP4-transfected group than in the normal control group and PEBP4 siRNA group (P<0.05); furthermore, the protein expressions of p-Akt and p-mTOR significantly decreased in the PEBP4 targeting siRNA-transfected group (P<0.05). Treatment with LY294002 significantly inhibited the protein expressions of p-Akt and p-mTOR in HCC827 cells (P<0.05). In contrast, treatment with RAPA only significantly inhibited the protein expression of p-mTOR (P<0.05). As shown by MTT, flow cytometry, and Transwell migration assay, both LY294002 and RAPA could significantly lower the viability of HCC827 cells and inhibit their proliferation and invasion (P<0.05); meanwhile, they could reverse the effect of PEBP4 in promoting the proliferation and migration of HCC827 cells (P<0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: The overexpression of PEBP4 increases the phosphorylation levels of Akt and mTOR in lung cancer cells. The PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling axis may be a key molecular pathway via which PEBP4 promotes the proliferation and invasion of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells; also, it may serve as a potential therapeutic target.

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