Cancer cells are characterized by a high dependency on antioxidant enzymes to cope with the elevated rates of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Impairing antioxidant capacity in cancer cells disturbs the ROS homeostasis and exposes cancer cells to massive oxidative stress. In this study, we have discovered that superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1), a major player in maintaining the cellular redox status, was acetylated at lysine 71. This acetylation, which was primarily deacetylated by Sirtuin 1 (SIRT1), suppressed the enzymatic activity of SOD1 via disrupting its association with copper chaperone for SOD1 (CCS). More importantly, genotoxic agents, such as camptothecin (CPT), induced SOD1 acetylation by disrupting its binding with SIRT1. CPT-induced SOD1 acetylation was stimulated by its provoked ROS, suggesting a positive feedback loop, in which ROS per se impairs the antioxidative defence of cancer cells and reinforces oxidative stress stimulated by anticancer agents. The intrinsic abundance of SOD1 acetylation varied among cancer cells, and high level of SOD1 acetylation was correlated with elevated sensitivity to CPT. Together, our findings gained mechanistic insights into how cytotoxic agents fine tune the intracellular ROS homeostasis to strengthen their anticancer effects, and suggested SOD1 acetylation as a candidate biomarker for predicting response to CPT-based chemotherapy.
Lin, C., Zeng, H., Lu, J., Xie, Z., Sun, W., Luo, C., … Huang, M. (2015). Acetylation at lysine 71 inactivates superoxide dismutase 1 and sensitizes cancer cells to genotoxic agents. Oncotarget, 6(24). https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.3987