PTPN12 promotes resistance to oxidative stress and supports tumorigenesis by regulating FOXO signaling

I. S. Harris, H. Blaser, J. Moreno, A. E. Treloar, C. Gorrini, M. Sasaki, J. M. Mason, C. B. Knobbe, A. Rufini, M. Hallé, A. J. Elia, A. Wakeham, M. L. Tremblay, G. Melino, S. Done, T. W. Mak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It is well known that protein tyrosine phosphatases (PTPs) that become oxidized due to exposure to reactive oxygen species (ROS) undergo a conformational change and are inactivated. However, whether PTPs can actively regulate ROS levels in order to prevent PTP inhibition has yet to be investigated. Here, we demonstrate that PTP non-receptor type 12 (PTPN12) protects cells against aberrant ROS accumulation and death induced by oxidative stress. Murine embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) deficient in PTPN12 underwent increased ROS-induced apoptosis under conditions of antioxidant depletion. Cells lacking PTPN12 also showed defective activation of FOXO1/3a, transcription factors required for the upregulation of several antioxidant genes. PTPN12-mediated regulation of ROS appeared to be mediated by phosphoinositide-dependent kinase-1 (PDK1), which was hyperstimulated in the absence of PTPN12. As tight regulation of ROS to sustain survival is a key feature of cancer cells, we examined PTPN12 levels in tumors from a cohort of breast cancer patients. Patients whose tumors showed high levels of PTPN12 transcripts had a significantly poorer prognosis. Analysis of tissues from patients with various breast cancer subtypes revealed that more triple-negative breast cancers, the most aggressive breast cancer subtype, showed high PTPN12 expression than any other subtype. Furthermore, both human breast cancer cells and mouse mammary epithelial tumor cells engineered to lack PTPN12 exhibited reduced tumorigenic and metastatic potential in vivo that correlated with their elevated ROS levels. The involvement of PTPN12 in the antioxidant response of breast cancer cells suggests that PTPN12 may represent a novel therapeutic target for this disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1047-1054
Number of pages8
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Feb 20 2014


  • Antioxidant
  • Breast cancer
  • Oxidative stress
  • Protein tyrosine phosphatase
  • Reactive oxygen species

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cancer Research
  • Genetics


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