PTEN is a tumor suppressor and the first phosphatase identified to be frequently mutated/deleted somatically in a variety of human cancers. Substantial evidence supports that loss of PTEN promotes the development of human cancer. PTEN normally serves to repress the activation of the PIS kinase signaling pathway. However, little is yet known regarding PTEN-mediated changes in gene expression that are lost in cells that lack PTEN. Our studies will examine the novel idea that PTEN, and PIS kinase/Akt signaling, regulates RNA polymerase (pol)Ill-dependent gene expression and that this regulatory event is lost in human carcinoma cells that exhibit reduced PTEN expression. As RNA pol III products, tRNAs and 5S rRNAs, determine the translational capacity of cells, repression of RNA pol III transcription by PTEN is likely to be fundamental to its tumor suppressing function. Our studies will identify new targets of PTEN, and elucidate in detail, the mechanism for how loss of PTEN leads to deregulation of RNA pol III transcription in several different human cell lines. By comparing cells that contain alterations in the levels of functional PTEN, we will: (1) Determine whether PTEN represses transcription of the three major classes of RNA pol III promoters;(2) Determine the PTEN/Akt-regulated signaling pathways involved in this response;and determine whether PTEN may also function in the nucleus to directly repress the transcription process. (3) Identify quantitative and/or qualitative changes in factor(s) of the RNA pol III transcription machinery that is/are specifically targeted by PTEN;and (4) Determine how these changes in the transcription components alters their function and the formation of transcription initiation complexes in vivo. From these studies, we will identify novel downstream targets of PTEN that are important for its function as a tumor suppressor and provide the first evidence that the deregulation of RNA pol III genes is a consequence of the loss of PTEN. Defining the PTEN-mediated signaling pathways and targets that are aberrantly regulated in cells that have lost PTEN function, giving rise to these specific consequences gene expression, will provide a valuable nexus for investigation of therapeutic agents that mimic PTEN function.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Research Project (R01)
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Cancer Molecular Pathobiology Study Section (CAMP)
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Mietz, Judy
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University of Southern California
Schools of Medicine
Los Angeles
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Debebe, A; Medina, V; Chen, C-Y et al. (2017) Wnt/?-catenin activation and macrophage induction during liver cancer development following steatosis. Oncogene 36:6020-6029
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Zhong, Shuping; Machida, Keigo; Tsukamoto, Hide et al. (2011) Alcohol induces RNA polymerase III-dependent transcription through c-Jun by co-regulating TATA-binding protein (TBP) and Brf1 expression. J Biol Chem 286:2393-401
Zhong, Shuping; Johnson, Deborah L (2009) The JNKs differentially regulate RNA polymerase III transcription by coordinately modulating the expression of all TFIIIB subunits. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 106:12682-7
Woiwode, Annette; Johnson, Sandra A S; Zhong, Shuping et al. (2008) PTEN represses RNA polymerase III-dependent transcription by targeting the TFIIIB complex. Mol Cell Biol 28:4204-14

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