Background: A growing amount of evidence has indicated that PSAT1 is an oncogene that plays an important role in cancer progression and metastasis. In this study, we explored the expression and function of PSAT1 in estrogen receptor (ER)-negative breast cancer.
Method: The expression level of PSAT1 in breast cancer tissues and cells was analyzed using real-time-PCR (RT-PCR), TCGA datasets or immunohistochemistry (IHC). The overall survival of patients with ER-negative breast cancer stratified by the PSAT1 expression levels was evaluated using Kaplan-Meier analysis. The function of PSAT1 was analyzed using a series of in vitro assays. Moreover, a nude mouse model was used to evaluate the function of PSAT1 in vivo. qRT-PCR and western blot assays were used to evaluate gene and protein expression, respectively, in the indicated cells. In addition, we demonstrated that PSAT1 was activated by ATF4 by chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assays.
Results: mRNA expression of PSAT1 was up-regulated in ER-negative breast cancer. A tissue microarray that included 297 specimens of ER-negative breast cancer was subjected to an immunohistochemistry assay, which demonstrated that PSAT1 was overexpressed and predicted a poor clinical outcome of patients with this disease. Our data showed that PSAT1 promoted cell proliferation and tumorigenesis in vitro and in vivo. We further found that PSAT1 induced up-regulation of cyclin D1 via the GSK3β/β-catenin pathway, which eventually led to the acceleration of cell cycle progression. Furthermore, ATF4 was also overexpressed in ER-negative breast cancers, and a positive correlation between the ATF4 and PSAT1 mRNA levels was observed in ER-negative breast cancers. We further demonstrated that knockdown of ATF4 by siRNA reduced PSAT1 expression. Finally, chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assays showed that PSAT1 was a target of ATF4.
Conclusions: PSAT1, which is overexpressed in ER-negative breast cancers, is activated by ATF4 and promotes cell cycle progression via regulation of the GSK3β/β-catenin/cyclin D1 pathway.
Keywords: ATF4; Cell cycle; Estrogen receptor (ER); GSK3β/β-catenin/cyclin D1 pathway; PSAT1.