: We have been at the forefront of establishing a new paradigm in cancer biology, by demonstrating that a critical function of key oncogenes, such as Myc and mTOR, in augmenting ribosome biogenesis and protein synthesis rates is essential for tumorigenesis. In the previous funding cycle, we employed a multifaceted approach to show that a specific downstream translation arm of mTOR, 4EB1-eIF4E, is responsible for rewiring the prostate cancer (PCa) proteome and selectively controlling the translation of mRNAs that are critical for cancer cell growth, metabolism, and metastasis. Strikingly, we have also identified a new RNA element in the 5'UTR of these mRNAs, which we have termed the pyrimidine-rich translation element (PRTE) that demarcates and is functionally important for the selective actions of mTOR signaling on translational control. Furthermore, we have also discovered that the most aggressive form of PCa, established by loss of PTEN and MYC hyperactivation, induces profound ?super-augmented? protein synthesis that must be carefully controlled by the activation of appropriate checkpoints to promote cancer cell survival. Strikingly, we find that activation of eIF2? is a specific means to rebalance protein homeostasis as an adaptive response to sustain PCa cell survival. Our genetic and pharmacological preliminary data show that phosphorylation of eIF2?, which reprograms translational control, represents a new point of vulnerability for primary and metastatic PCa cells. Together, these findings lay the foundation for this proposal.
In Aim 1 we will define the molecular mechanisms by which trans-acting proteins recognize and specifically bind the PRTE to mediate translational specificity downstream of mTOR in PCa.
In Aim 2 we will unravel the precise benefit of blocking P-eIF2? activity and other UPR arms in mice and human PCa, which will pave the way for new therapeutic approaches and the identification of novel therapeutic targets to reign in this currently incurable cancer.
In Aim 3 we will also characterize for the first time the subcellular localized translational landscape directed by eIF2? phosphorylation to reprogram the prostate proteome essential in maintaining cellular fitness in PCa cells. Collectively, these studies will offer a new understanding of the post-transcriptional circuitry and synthetic lethal networks that remodel that PCa proteome and can be exploited as new therapies.

Public Health Relevance

Overexpression of MYC and loss of PTEN protein leads to the most aggressive and incurable form of human prostate cancer. In this proposal, we will identify and characterize the mechanisms by which these oncogenic lesions alter the production of proteins to drive prostate cancer development. This will lead to novel biological insights into the underlying mechanisms that cause cancer, as well as the identification of new drug targets and therapeutic approaches that will significantly improve patient outcomes.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Tumor Cell Biology Study Section (TCB)
Program Officer
Strasburger, Jennifer
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of California San Francisco
Schools of Medicine
San Francisco
United States
Zip Code
Nguyen, Hao G; Conn, Crystal S; Kye, Yae et al. (2018) Development of a stress response therapy targeting aggressive prostate cancer. Sci Transl Med 10:
Chiu, Honyin; Jackson, Leandra V; Oh, Kwon Ik et al. (2018) The mTORC1/4E-BP/eIF4E Axis Promotes Antibody Class Switching in B Lymphocytes. J Immunol :
Forester, Craig M; Zhao, Qian; Phillips, Nancy J et al. (2018) Revealing nascent proteomics in signaling pathways and cell differentiation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 115:2353-2358
Truillet, Charles; Cunningham, John T; Parker, Matthew F L et al. (2017) Noninvasive Measurement of mTORC1 Signaling with 89Zr-Transferrin. Clin Cancer Res 23:3045-3052
So, Lomon; Lee, Jongdae; Palafox, Miguel et al. (2016) The 4E-BP-eIF4E axis promotes rapamycin-sensitive growth and proliferation in lymphocytes. Sci Signal 9:ra57
Truitt, Morgan L; Ruggero, Davide (2016) New frontiers in translational control of the cancer genome. Nat Rev Cancer 16:288-304
Sheridan, Christine Moore; Grogan, Tristan R; Nguyen, Hao G et al. (2015) YB-1 and MTA1 protein levels and not DNA or mRNA alterations predict for prostate cancer recurrence. Oncotarget 6:7470-80
Hsieh, Andrew C; Nguyen, Hao G; Wen, Lexiaochuan et al. (2015) Cell type-specific abundance of 4EBP1 primes prostate cancer sensitivity or resistance to PI3K pathway inhibitors. Sci Signal 8:ra116
Truitt, Morgan L; Conn, Crystal S; Shi, Zhen et al. (2015) Differential Requirements for eIF4E Dose in Normal Development and Cancer. Cell 162:59-71
Pelletier, Jerry; Graff, Jeremy; Ruggero, Davide et al. (2015) Targeting the eIF4F translation initiation complex: a critical nexus for cancer development. Cancer Res 75:250-63

Showing the most recent 10 out of 25 publications