The inhibitory effect of compound ChlA-F on human bladder cancer cell invasion can be attributed to its blockage of SOX2 protein


Sex-determining region Y-box 2 (SOX2), a well-known stemness biomarker, is highly expressed in a variety of cancers, including human highly invasive bladder cancer (BC). However, the role of SOX2 may vary in different kinds of malignancy. In the present study, we discovered that ChlA-F, a novel conformation derivative of isolate Cheliensisin A (Chel A), remarkably inhibits the invasive ability of human invasive BC cells through downregulation of SOX2 protein expression. We found that ChlA-F treatment dramatically decreases SOX2 protein expression in human high-grade invasive BC cells. Ectopic expression of SOX2 reversed ChlA-F inhibition of cell invasion ability in human bladder cancer cells, suggesting that SOX2 is a major target of ChlA-F during its inhibition of human BC invasion. Mechanistic studies revealed that ChlA-F downregulates SOX2 at both the protein degradation and protein translation levels. Further studies revealed that ChlA-F treatment induces HuR protein expression and that the increased HuR interacts with USP8 mRNA, resulting in elevation of USP8 mRNA stability and protein expression. Elevated USP8 subsequently acts as an E3 ligase to promote SOX2 ubiquitination and protein degradation. We also found that ChlA-F treatment substantially increases c-Jun phosphorylation at Ser63 and Ser73, initiating miR-200c transcription. The increased miR-200c directly binds to the 3′-UTR of SOX2 mRNA to suppress SOX2 protein translation. These results present novel mechanistic insight into understanding SOX2 inhibition upon ChlA-F treatment and provide important information for further exploration of ChlA-F as a new therapeutic compound for the treatment of highly invasive/metastatic human BC patients.

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This work was partially supported by the grants from the Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC91773391, NSFC81872587 and NSFC81702530); Wenzhou Science and Technology Bureau (Y20170028) and Key Discipline of Zhejiang Province in Medical Technology (First Class, Category A).

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Correspondence to Qin-shi Zhao or Haishan Huang or Chuanshu Huang.

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Hua, X., Huang, M., Deng, X. et al. The inhibitory effect of compound ChlA-F on human bladder cancer cell invasion can be attributed to its blockage of SOX2 protein. Cell Death Differ 27, 632–645 (2020).

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