Therapy-induced stress response is associated with downregulation of pre-mRNA splicing in cancer cells

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Background: Abnormal pre-mRNA splicing regulation is common in cancer, but the effects of chemotherapy on this process remain unclear. Methods: To evaluate the effect of chemotherapy on slicing regulation, we performed meta-analyses of previously published transcriptomic, proteomic, phosphoproteomic, and secretome datasets. Our findings were verified by LC-MS/MS, western blotting, immunofluorescence, and FACS analyses of multiple cancer cell lines treated with cisplatin and pladienolide B. Results: Our results revealed that different types of chemotherapy lead to similar changes in alternative splicing by inducing intron retention in multiple genes. To determine the mechanism underlying this effect, we analyzed gene expression in 101 cell lines affected by λ-irradiation, hypoxia, and 10 various chemotherapeutic drugs. Strikingly, only genes involved in the cell cycle and pre-mRNA splicing regulation were changed in a similar manner in all 335 tested samples regardless of stress stimuli. We revealed significant downregulation of gene expression levels in these two pathways, which could be explained by the observed decrease in splicing efficiency and global intron retention. We showed that the levels of active spliceosomal proteins might be further post-translationally decreased by phosphorylation and export into the extracellular space. To further explore these bioinformatics findings, we performed proteomic analysis of cisplatin-treated ovarian cancer cells. Finally, we demonstrated that the splicing inhibitor pladienolide B impairs the cellular response to DNA damage and significantly increases the sensitivity of cancer cells to chemotherapy. Conclusions: Decreased splicing efficiency and global intron retention is a novel stress response mechanism that may promote survival of malignant cells following therapy. We found that this mechanism can be inhibited by pladienolide B, which significantly increases the sensitivity of cancer cells to cisplatin which makes it a good candidate drug for improving the efficiency of cancer therapy.




Anufrieva, K. S., Shender, V. O., Arapidi, G. P., Pavlyukov, M. S., Shakhparonov, M. I., Shnaider, P. V., … Govorun, V. M. (2018). Therapy-induced stress response is associated with downregulation of pre-mRNA splicing in cancer cells. Genome Medicine, 10(1).

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