Mutations in tuberous sclerosis (TSC) genes cause the genetic disorder TSC, as well as other neoplasms, including lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM) and angiomyolipomas (AMLs). AMLs are benign renal tumors occur both in sporadic LAM and in TSC. As they carry the same mutations, AML cell lines serve as a model for TSC and LAM. Rheb/mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) pathway is chronically activated in TSC-deficient cells, and this activation can be diminished using the appropriate inhibitors. Rapamycin (sirolimus) is a known specific inhibitor of mTORC1, whereas S-trans,trans-farnesylthiosalicylic acid (FTS; salirasib) has been shown to inhibit Rheb. To examine the effect of the Rheb/mTOR inhibition pathway, we used human TSC2-deficient AML cells, derived from a LAM patient. FTS indeed inhibited Rheb in these cells and attenuated their proliferation. After comparative treatments with FTS or rapamycin or by re-expression of TSC2, we carried out a gene array analysis. This yielded a substantial number of commonly altered genes, many of which we identified as downstream targets of the interferon (IFN) regulatory factor 7 (IRF7) transcription factor, a central activator of the IFN type 1 immune response. Furthermore, nuclear localization of IRF7 was impaired by each of the three treatments. Interestingly, the phenomena seen on FTS or rapamycin treatment were selective for TSC2-deficient cells. Moreover, knockdown of IRF7 by siRNA mimicked the decrease in number of the abovementioned genes and also inhibited AML cell proliferation. Altogether, these findings support FTS as a potential treatment for TSC and its related pathologies and IRF7 as a novel target for treatment.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Cell Biology
- Cancer Research