Andrew C. Little 1 , 2 , Milena Hristova 1 , Loes van Lith 1 , Caspar Schiffers 1 , Christopher M. Dustin 1 , Aida Habibovic 1 , Karamatullah Danyal 1 , David E. Heppner 1 , 3 , Miao-Chong J. Lin 1 , Jos van der Velden 1 , Yvonne M. Janssen-Heininger 1 , Albert van der Vliet , 1
19 March 2019
Lung cancers are frequently characterized by inappropriate activation of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-dependent signaling and epigenetic silencing of the NADPH oxidase (NOX) enzyme DUOX1, both potentially contributing to worse prognosis. Based on previous findings linking DUOX1 with redox-dependent EGFR activation, the present studies were designed to evaluate whether DUOX1 silencing in lung cancers may be responsible for altered EGFR regulation. In contrast to normal epithelial cells, EGF stimulation of lung cancer cell lines that lack DUOX1 promotes EGF-induced EGFR internalization and nuclear localization, associated with induction of EGFR-regulated genes and related tumorigenic outcomes. Each of these outcomes could be reversed by overexpression of DUOX1 or enhanced by shRNA-dependent DUOX1 silencing. EGF-induced nuclear EGFR localization in DUOX1-deficient lung cancer cells was associated with altered dynamics of cysteine oxidation of EGFR, and an overall reduction of EGFR cysteines. These various outcomes could also be attenuated by silencing of glutathione S-transferase P1 (GSTP1), a mediator of metabolic alterations and drug resistance in various cancers, and a regulator of cysteine oxidation. Collectively, our findings indicate DUOX1 deficiency in lung cancers promotes dysregulated EGFR signaling and enhanced GSTP1-mediated turnover of EGFR cysteine oxidation, which result in enhanced nuclear EGFR localization and tumorigenic properties.