Atypical cyclin P regulates cancer cell stemness through activation of the WNT pathway

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PURPOSE: Cancer stem cells represent a cancer cell subpopulation that has been found to be associated with metastasis and chemoresistance. Therefore, it is vital to identify mechanisms regulating cancer stemness. Previously, we have shown that the atypical cyclin P (CCNP), also known as CNTD2, is upregulated in lung and colorectal cancers and is associated with a worse clinical prognosis. Given that other cyclins have been implicated in pluripotency regulation, we hypothesized that CCNP may also play a role in cancer stemness. METHODS: Cell line-derived spheroids, ex vivo intestinal organoid cultures and induced-pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) were used to investigate the role of CCNP in stemness. The effects of CCNP on cancer cell stemness and the expression of pluripotency markers and ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters were evaluated using Western blotting and RT-qPCR assays. Cell viability was assessed using a MTT assay. The effects of CCNP on WNT targets were monitored by RNA-seq analysis. Data from publicly available web-based resources were also analyzed. RESULTS: We found that CCNP increases spheroid formation in breast, lung and colorectal cancers, and upregulates the expression of stemness (CD44, CD133) and pluripotency (SOX2, OCT4, NANOG) markers. In addition, we found that CCNP promotes resistance to anticancer drugs and induces the expression of multidrug resistance ABC transporters. Our RNA-seq data indicate that CCNP activates the WNT pathway, and that inhibition of this pathway abrogates the increase in spheroid formation promoted by CCNP. Finally, we found that CCNP knockout decreases OCT4 expression in iPSCs, further supporting the notion that CCNP is involved in stemness regulation. CONCLUSION: Our results reveal CCNP as a novel player in stemness and as a potential therapeutic target in cancer.

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Volume 44
Issue number 6
Pages 1273-1286
Available online
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