The Ewing's sarcoma cell line RD-ES, which carries the EWS/FLI-1 fusion gene, responded to the 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitor lovastatin with growth arrest. Replenishment of mevalonate (MVA) to the arrested cells restored cell growth. However, if tunicamycin (TM), which is an inhibitor of N-linked glycosylation, was present together with MVA the cells remained arrested, indicating that N-linked glycosylation is of importance for growth of Ewing's sarcoma cells. Inhibition of the biosynthesis of EWS/FLI-1 fusion protein by treatment with antisense oligonucleotides also led to growth arrest, suggesting that this protein is of importance for cell growth. We investigated whether MVA synthesis and N-linked glycosylation could be involved in regulation of the expression of the EWS/FLI-1 fusion protein, which in fact contains four potential sites for N-linked glycosylation. We found that inhibition of both HMG-CoA reductase and N-linked glycosylation drastically decreased the expression of the fusion protein, which mainly appears in the cell nuclei. There was no significant difference in the inhibitory effect on the fusion protein between the cytoplasm and the cell nuclei, indicating that the transport of the fusion protein to the cell nucleus is not affected. The fusion protein did not exhibit any gel electrophoretic mobility shift after treatment of the cells with lovastatin or TM, and it did not incorporate [3H]glucosamine. Therefore we can conclude that the fusion protein is not a glycoprotein. The decreased expression of the fusion protein following lovastatin or TM treatment was found to be due to a lowered stability of de novo-synthesized fusion protein. The down-regulation of the fusion protein was correlated to growth arrest. Furthermore, the kinetics between the expression of EWS/FLI-1 fusion protein and the initiation of DNA synthesis in MVA-stimulated cells were similar. Taken together, our data suggest that the regulatory role of N-linked glycosylation in the expression of the EWS/FLI-1 fusion protein is important for growth of Ewing's sarcoma cells. Possible mechanisms underlying TM-induced decrease in EWS/FLI-1 expression may involve the breaking of growth factor receptor pathways.
Copyright 1999 Academic Press.