PKR and GCN2 stress kinases promote an ER stress-independent eIF2α phosphorylation responsible for calreticulin exposure in melanoma cells

Paola Giglio, Mara Gagliardi, Nicola Tumino, Fernanda Antunes, Soraya Smaili, Diego Cotella, Claudio Santoro, Roberta Bernardini, Maurizio Mattei, Mauro Piacentini, Marco Corazzari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The immunogenic cell death (ICD) process represents a novel therapeutic approach to treat tumours, in which cytotoxic compounds promote both cancer cell death and the emission of damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs) from dying cells, to activate the immune system against the malignancy. Therefore, we explored the possibility to stimulate the key molecular players with a pivotal role in the execution of the ICD program in melanoma cells. To this aim, we used the pro-ICD agents mitoxantrone and doxorubicin and found that both agents could induce cell death and stimulate the release/exposure of the strictly required DAMPs in melanoma cells: i) calreticulin (CRT) exposure on the cell membrane; ii) ATP secretion; iii) type I IFNs gene up-regulation and iv) HMGB1 secretion, highlighting no interference by oncogenic BRAF. Importantly, although the ER stress-related PERK activation has been linked to CRT externalization, through the phosphorylation of eIF2α, we found that this stress pathway together with PERK were not involved in melanoma cells. Notably, we identified PKR and GCN2 as key mediators of eIF2α phosphorylation, facilitating the translocation of CTR on melanoma cells surface, under pro-ICD drugs stimulation. Therefore, our data indicate that pro-ICD drugs are able to stimulate the production/release of DAMPs in melanoma cells at least in vitro, indicating in this approach a potential new valuable therapeutic strategy to treat human skin melanoma malignancy.

Original languageEnglish
JournalOncoImmunology
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 28 2018

Keywords

  • BRAF
  • ecto-CRT
  • eIF2α
  • ER stress
  • GCN2
  • melanoma
  • PKR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Oncology

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