CXCR4 and CXCR7 transduce through mTOR in human renal cancer cells

Cell Death Dis. 2014 Jul 3;5(7):e1310. doi: 10.1038/cddis.2014.269.


Treatment of metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC) has improved significantly with the advent of agents targeting the mTOR pathway, such as temsirolimus and everolimus. However, their efficacy is thought to be limited by feedback loops and crosstalk with other pathways leading to the development of drug resistance. As CXCR4-CXCL12-CXCR7 axis has been described to have a crucial role in renal cancer; the crosstalk between the mTOR pathway and the CXCR4-CXCL12-CXCR7 chemokine receptor axis has been investigated in human renal cancer cells. In SN12C and A498, the common CXCR4-CXCR7 ligand, CXCL12, and the exclusive CXCR7 ligand, CXCL11, activated mTOR through P70S6K and 4EBP1 targets. The mTOR activation was specifically inhibited by CXCR4 antagonists (AMD3100, anti-CXCR4-12G5 and Peptide R, a newly developed CXCR4 antagonist) and CXCR7 antagonists (anti-CXCR7-12G8 and CCX771, CXCR7 inhibitor). To investigate the functional role of CXCR4, CXCR7 and mTOR in human renal cancer cells, both migration and wound healing were evaluated. SN12C and A498 cells migrated toward CXCL12 and CXCL11; CXCR4 and CXCR7 inhibitors impaired migration and treatment with mTOR inhibitor, RAD001, further inhibited it. Moreover, CXCL12 and CXCL11 induced wound healing while was impaired by AMD3100, the anti CXCR7 and RAD001. In SN12C and A498 cells, CXCL12 and CXCL11 promoted actin reorganization characterized by thin spikes at the cell periphery, whereas AMD3100 and anti-CXCR7 impaired CXCL12/CXCL11-induced actin polymerization, and RAD001 treatment further reduced it. In addition, when cell growth was evaluated in the presence of CXCL12, CXCL11 and mTOR inhibitors, an additive effect was demonstrated with the CXCR4, CXCR7 antagonists and RAD001. RAD001-resistant SN12C and A498 cells recovered RAD001 sensitivity in the presence of CXCR4 and CXCR7 antagonists. In conclusion, the entire axis CXCR4-CXCL12-CXCR7 regulates mTOR signaling in renal cancer cells offering new therapeutic opportunities and targets to overcome resistance to mTOR inhibitors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / metabolism*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Chemokine CXCL12 / genetics
  • Chemokine CXCL12 / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Kidney Neoplasms / genetics
  • Kidney Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Receptors, CXCR / genetics
  • Receptors, CXCR / metabolism*
  • Receptors, CXCR4 / genetics
  • Receptors, CXCR4 / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases / genetics
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*


  • ACKR3 protein, human
  • CXCL12 protein, human
  • CXCR4 protein, human
  • Chemokine CXCL12
  • Receptors, CXCR
  • Receptors, CXCR4
  • MTOR protein, human
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases