Human TSC-associated renal angiomyolipoma cells are hypersensitive to ER stress

Brian J. Siroky, Hong Yin, Justin T. Babcock, Lu Lu, Anna R. Hellmann, Bradley P. Dixon, Lawrence A. Quilliam, John J. Bissler

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21 Scopus citations


Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC), an inherited tumor predisposition syndrome associated with mutations in TSC1 or TSC2, affects ~1 in 6,000 individuals. Eighty percent of TSC patients develop renal angiomyolipomas, and renal involvement is a major contributor to patient morbidity and mortality. Recent work has shown that mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) inhibition caused angiomyolipoma shrinkage but that this treatment may cause cytostatic not a cytotoxic effect. Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress can develop in TSC-associated cells due to mTORC1-driven protein translation. We hypothesized that renal angiomyolipoma cells experience ER stress that can be leveraged to result in targeted cytotoxicity. We used immortalized human angiomyolipoma cells stably transfected with empty vector or TSC2 (encoding tuberin). Using cell number quantification and cell death assays, we found that mTORC1 inhibition with RAD001 suppressed angiomyolipoma cell proliferation in a cytostatic manner. Angiomyolipoma cells exhibited enhanced sensitivity to proteasome inhibitorinduced ER stress compared with TSC2-rescued cells. After proteasome inhibition with MG-132, Western blot analyses showed greater induction of C/EBP-homologous protein (CHOP) and more poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) and caspase-3 cleavage, supporting ER stress-induced apoptosis. Live cell numbers also were decreased and cell death increased by MG-132 in angiomyolipoma cells compared with TSC2 rescued. Intriguingly, while pretreatment of angiomyolipoma cells with RAD001 attenuated CHOP and BiP induction, apoptotic markers cleaved PARP and caspase-3 and eukaryotic translation initiation factor 2α phosphorylation were increased, along with evidence of increased autophagy. These results suggest that human angiomyolipoma cells are uniquely susceptible to agents that exacerbate ER stress and that additional synergy may be achievable with targeted combination therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)F831-F844
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Renal Physiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 15 2012


  • Angiomyolipoma
  • ER stress
  • mTOR
  • TSC

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Urology

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    Siroky, B. J., Yin, H., Babcock, J. T., Lu, L., Hellmann, A. R., Dixon, B. P., Quilliam, L. A., & Bissler, J. J. (2012). Human TSC-associated renal angiomyolipoma cells are hypersensitive to ER stress. American Journal of Physiology - Renal Physiology, 303(6), F831-F844.