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Ectopic expression of methionine aminopeptidase-2 causes cell transformation and stimulates proliferation

Abstract

Methionine aminopeptidase-2 (MetAP2) processes N-terminal methionine from nascent cellular proteins. Inhibition of MetAP2 has been shown to block angiogenesis and suppress tumor growth in preclinical tumor models. However, the biological role of MetAP2 in cancer is not well understood. We examined the effect of three distinct chemical classes of MetAP2 inhibitors on the growth of a panel of human cancer cells in vitro. All MetAP2 inhibitors caused inhibition of tumor cell growth in both anchorage-dependent and, particularly, in anchorage-independent manner. These data prompted us to examine the possible roles of MetAP2 in cancers. Ectopic expression of MetAP2 in NIH-3T3 cells caused transformation, evidenced by the formation of foci in monolayer culture and growth of large colonies in soft agar. Overexpression of MetAP2 in an immortalized bronchial epithelial cell line NL20 accelerated growth. These phenotypes induced by the overexpression of MetAP2 were reversed by the treatment with MetAP2 inhibitors, indicating that the catalytic function of MetAP2 was essential. Accordingly, overexpression of a catalytically inactive MetAP2 resulted in growth retardation of HT1080 tumor cells, suggesting a dominant-negative role of the inactive MetAP2 mutant. Finally, we analysed the expression of MetAP2 in patient cancer samples by immunohistochemistry. Moderate-to-high staining was identified in the majority of breast, colon, lung, ovarian and prostate carcinomas examined. These data suggest that MetAP2 plays an important role in tumor cell growth and may contribute to tumorigenesis.

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Acknowledgements

We thank Drs Milagros Colon-Lopez and Guido Sauter for tissue microarray studies on MetAP2 expression, and Dr Jack Henkin for critical reading of this paper.

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Correspondence to J Wang.

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Tucker, L., Zhang, Q., Sheppard, G. et al. Ectopic expression of methionine aminopeptidase-2 causes cell transformation and stimulates proliferation. Oncogene 27, 3967–3976 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1038/onc.2008.14

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/onc.2008.14

Keywords

  • MetAP2
  • transformation
  • proliferation
  • IHC

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