The intracellular calcium concentration ([Ca2+]i) modulation plays a key role in the regulation of cellular growth and survival in normal cells and failure of [Ca2+]i homeostasis is involved in tumor initiation and progression. Here we showed that inhibition of Furin by its naturally occurring inhibitor the prodomain ppFurin in the MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells resulted in enhanced store-operated calcium entry (SOCE) and reduced the cell malignant phenotype. Expression of ppFurin in a stable manner in MDA-MB-231 and the melanoma MDA-MB-435 cell lines inhibits Furin activity as assessed by in vitro digestion assays. Accordingly, cell transfection experiments revealed that the ppFurin-expressing cells are unable to adequately process the proprotein convertase (PC) substrates vascular endothelial growth factor C (proVEGF-C) and insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor (proIGF-1R). Compared to MDA-MB-435 cells, expression of ppFurin in MDA-MB-231 and BT20 cells significantly enhanced SOCE and induced constitutive Ca2+ entry. The enhanced SOCE is impaired by inhibition of Orai channels while the constitutive Ca2+ entry is attenuated by silencing or inhibition of TRPC6 or inhibition of Orai channels. Analysis of TRPC6 activation revealed its upregulated tyrosine phosphorylation in ppFurin-expressing MDA-MB-231 cells. In addition, while ppFurin had no effect on MDA-MB-435 cell viability, in MDA-MB-231 cells ppFurin expression reduced their viability and ability to migrate and enhanced their sensitization to the apoptosis inducer hydrogen peroxide and similar results were observed in BT20 cells. These findings suggest that Furin inhibition by ppFurin may be a useful strategy to interfere with Ca2+ mobilization, leading to breast cancer cells' malignant phenotype repression and reduction of their resistance to treatments.
Keywords: SOCE; TRPC6; breast cancer; calcium; furin; migration; ppFurin; viability.