Lysine-specific demethylase 1 mediates Akt activity and promotes epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition in PIK3CA-mutant colorectal cancer

Samuel A. Miller, Robert A. Policastro, Sudha S. Savant, Shruthi Sriramkumar, Ning Ding, Xiaoyu Lu, Helai P. Mohammad, Sha Cao, Jay H. Kalin, Philip A. Cole, Gabriel E. Zentner, Heather M. O'Hagan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Activation of the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) program is a critical mechanism for initiating cancer progression and migration. Colorectal cancers contain many genetic and epigenetic alterations that can contribute to EMT. Mutations activating the PI3K/AKT signaling pathway are observed in >40% of patients with colorectal cancer contributing to increased invasion and metastasis. Little is known about how oncogenic signaling pathways such as PI3K/AKT synergize with chromatin modifiers to activate the EMT program. Lysine-specific demethylase 1 (LSD1) is a chromatin-modifying enzyme that is overexpressed in colorectal cancer and enhances cell migration. In this study, we determine that LSD1 expression is significantly elevated in patients with colorectal cancer with mutation of the catalytic subunit of PI3K, PIK3CA, compared with patients with colorectal cancer with WT PIK3CA. LSD1 enhances activation of the AKT kinase in colorectal cancer cells through a noncatalytic mechanism, acting as a scaffolding protein for the transcription-repressing CoREST complex. In addition, growth of PIK3CA-mutant colorectal cancer cells is uniquely dependent on LSD1. Knockdown or CRISPR knockout of LSD1 blocks AKT-mediated stabilization of the EMT-promoting transcription factor Snail and effectively blocks AKT-mediated EMT and migration. Overall, we uniquely demonstrate that LSD1 mediates AKT activation in response to growth factors and oxidative stress, and LSD1-regulated AKT activity promotes EMT-like characteristics in a subset of PIK3CA-mutant cells. Implications: Our data support the hypothesis that inhibitors targeting the CoREST complex may be clinically effective in patients with colorectal cancer harboring PIK3CA mutations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)264-277
Number of pages14
JournalMolecular Cancer Research
Volume18
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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    Miller, S. A., Policastro, R. A., Savant, S. S., Sriramkumar, S., Ding, N., Lu, X., Mohammad, H. P., Cao, S., Kalin, J. H., Cole, P. A., Zentner, G. E., & O'Hagan, H. M. (2020). Lysine-specific demethylase 1 mediates Akt activity and promotes epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition in PIK3CA-mutant colorectal cancer. Molecular Cancer Research, 18(2), 264-277. https://doi.org/10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-19-0748