MCM7 silencing promotes cutaneous melanoma cell autophagy and apoptosis by inactivating the AKT1/mTOR signaling pathway

J Cell Biochem. 2020 Feb;121(2):1283-1294. doi: 10.1002/jcb.29361. Epub 2019 Sep 18.


Cutaneous melanoma (CM) has become a major public health concern. Studies illustrate that minichromosome maintenance protein 7 (MCM7) participate in various diseases including skin disease. Our study aimed to study the effects of MCM7 silencing on CM cell autophagy and apoptosis by modulating the AKT threonine kinase 1 (AKT1)/mechanistic target of rapamycin kinase (mTOR) signaling pathway. Initially, microarray analysis was used to screen the CM-related gene expression data as well as differentially expressed genes. Subsequently, MCM7 expression vector and lentivirus RNA used for MCM7 silencing (LV-shRNA-MCM7) were constructed, and these vectors, dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) and AKT activator SC79 were then introduced into CM cell line SK-MEL-2 to validate the role of MCM7 in cell autophagy, viability, apoptosis, cell cycle, migration, and invasion. To further investigate the regulatory mechanisms of MCM7 in CM progress, the expression of MCM7, AKT1, mTOR, cyclin D1, as well as autophagy and apoptosis relative factors, such as LC3B, SOD2, DJ-1, p62, Bcl-2, Bax, and caspase-3 in melanoma cells was determined. MCM7 might mediate the AKT1/mTOR signaling pathway to influence the progress of melanoma. MCM7 silencing contributed to the increased expression of Bax, capase-3, and autophagy-related genes (LC3B, SOD2, and DJ-1), but decreased the expression of Bcl-2, which suggested that MCM7 silencing promoted autophagy and cell apoptosis. At the same time, MCM7 silencing also attenuated cell viability, invasion, and migration, and reduced the cyclin D1 expression and protein levels of p-AKT1 and p-mTOR. Taken together, MCM7 silencing inhibited CM via inactivation of the AKT1/mTOR signaling pathway.

Keywords: AKT1/mTOR signaling pathway; cell apoptosis; cell autophagy; cutaneous melanoma cells; minichromosome maintenance protein 7.