Human CCAR2 has recently emerged as having a pivotal role in the DNA damage response, promoting apoptosis and repair of heterochromatic DNA breaks. However, less is known about the function of CCAR2 in tumor formation and cancer progression. Here, we demonstrate, for the first time, that CCAR2 loss inhibits the proliferation of cancer cells, but preserves the growth of normal cells. Investigating the mechanisms responsible for this differential effect, we found that CCAR2 depletion specifically impairs the activation of AKT pathway in cancer cells, but not in normal cells, by reducing AKT phosphorylation on Ser473. This effect is achieved through the transcriptional upregulation of TRB3 gene and accumulation of TRB3 protein, which then binds to and inhibits the phosphorylation and activation of AKT. The defective activation of AKT finally results in reduced GSK3β phosphorylation, prevention of G1/S transition and inhibition of cancer cell growth. These results establish an important role for CCAR2 in cancer cells proliferation and could shed new light on novel therapeutic strategies against cancer, devoid of detrimental side effects.
- Journal Article