Session PO.ET06.05 - "Plitidepsin targets the moonlighting functions of eEF1A2 in cancer cells", 8:00 - 12:00 PM at AACR17 with AACR
Alejandro Losada, Maria Jose Muñoz, Juan F. Martínez-Leal, Juan M. Domínguez, Carlos M. Galmarini. PharmaMar S.A., Colmenar Viejo, Spain .
A. Losada: ; Pharmamar SA. M. Muñoz: ; Pharmamar SA. J.F. Martínez-Leal: ; Pharmamar SA. J.M. Domínguez: ; Pharmamar SA. C.M. Galmarini: ; Pharmamar SA.
Plitidepsin, a cyclic depsipeptide of marine origin, has shown potent anticancer activity in preclinical assays and recently finished with positive results a pivotal phase III trial (clinicaltrials.gov identifier: NCT01102426) for the treatment of multiple myeloma patients. We have recently found that eukaryotic elongation factor 1A2 (eEF1A2), one of the two isoforms of the alpha subunit of eEF1, is the pharmacological target of plitidepsin.
Although it shares 96% homology with eEF1A1 (the other isoform), they display an exclusive pattern of expression, being eEF1A2 solely expressed in brain and muscle in healthy individuals. However, it has been found that many tumors abnormally overexpress this protein, including multiple myeloma, prostate, pancreatic, ovarian, breast, lung and liver cancers.
Furthermore, although eEF1A2 canonical function consists in the delivery of aminoacyl-tRNAs to the A site in the ribosome, it has been shown to have pro-oncogenic moonlighting activities, including inhibition of apoptosis, protein degradation by the proteasome, heat shock response, cytoskeleton organization and regulation of oxidative stress.
We now investigated several of the pro-oncogenic activities of eEF1A2 to analyze the impact that plitidepsin could have preventing them. Indeed, we observed that plitidepsin interfered with the interaction between eEF1A2 and Peroxiredoxin 1 (PRDX1), a complex that allosterically enhances the enzymatic activity of PRDX1.
This way, plitidepsin would diminish PRDX1 antioxidant activity, possibly originating the oxidative stress that has been described in the bibliography as one of the first effects triggered by the drug in cancer cells.
PRDX1 only interacts with the GDP-bound form of eEF1A2, while plitidepsin exclusively binds to the GTP-bound form, most probably sequestering this protein from the pool that could interact with and activate PRDX1.
Furthermore, we have confirmed that eEF1A2 interacts with Sphingosine kinase 1 (SPHK1), a complex that has been described in the bibliography as having enhanced SPHK1 activity. SPHK1 phosphorylates sphingosine producing sphingosine-1-P, second messenger that binds to its receptors in the cell membrane and conveys growth and survival signals to the cell.
We could see that plitidepsin treatment reduced the production of sphingosine-1-P in HeLa cells, destabilizing the equilibrium towards the pro-apoptotic ceramide/sphingosine side and promoting cell death.
Thus, through its binding to eEF1A2, plitidepsin derails a series of its moonlighting functions that are essential for the survival of tumor cells, driving them into apoptosis.