Phosphodiesterase 10A (PDE10) is a cyclic nucleotide (e.g. cGMP) degrading enzyme highly expressed in the brain striatum where it plays an important role in dopaminergic neurotransmission, but has limited expression and no known physiological function outside the central nervous system. Here we report that PDE10 mRNA and protein levels are strongly elevated in human non-small cell lung cancer cells and lung tumors compared with normal human airway epithelial cells and lung tissue, respectively. Genetic silencing of PDE10 or inhibition by small molecules such as PQ10 was found to selectively inhibit the growth and colony formation of lung tumor cells. PQ10 treatment of lung tumor cells rapidly increased intracellular cGMP levels and activated cGMP-dependent protein kinase (PKG) at concentrations that inhibit lung tumor cell growth. PQ10 also increased the phosphorylation of β-catenin and reduced its levels, which paralleled the suppression of cyclin D1 and survivin but preceded the activation of PARP and caspase cleavage. PQ10 also suppressed RAS-activated RAF/MAPK signaling within the same concentration range and treatment period as required for cGMP elevation and PKG activation. These results show that PDE10 is overexpressed during lung cancer development and essential for lung tumor cell growth in which inhibitors can selectively induce apoptosis by increasing intracellular cGMP levels and activating PKG to suppress oncogenic β-catenin and MAPK signaling.
Keywords: PDE10; PKG; PQ10; cGMP; lung cancer.