N-MYC downstream-regulated gene-1 (NDRG1) is a potent growth and metastasis suppressor that acts through its inhibitory effects on a wide variety of cellular signaling pathways, including the TGF-beta pathway, protein kinase B (AKT)/PI3K pathway, RAS, etc. To investigate the hypothesis that its multiple effects could be regulated by a common upstream effector, the role of NDRG1 on the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and other members of the ErbB family, namely human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) and human epidermal growth factor receptor 3 (HER3), was examined. We demonstrate that NDRG1 markedly decreased the expression and activation of EGFR, HER2, and HER3 in response to the epidermal growth factor (EGF) ligand, while also inhibiting formation of the EGFR/ HER2 and HER2/ HER3 heterodimers. In addition, NDRG1 also decreased activation of the downstream MAPKK in response to EGF. Moreover, novel anti-tumor agents of the di-2-pyridylketone class of thiosemicarbazones, namely di-2-pyridylketone 4,4-dimethyl-3-thiosemicarbazone and di-2-pyridylketone 4-cyclohexyl-4-methyl-3-thiosemicarbazone, which markedly up-regulate NDRG1, were found to inhibit EGFR, HER2, and HER3 expression and phosphorylation in cancer cells. However, the mechanism involved appeared dependent on NDRG1 for di-2-pyridylketone 4,4-dimethyl-3-thiosemicarba-zone, but was independent of this metastasis suppressor for di-2-pyridylketone 4-cyclohexyl-4-methyl-3-thiosemicarbazone. This observation demonstrates that small structural changes in thiosemicarbazones result in marked alterations in molecular targeting. Collectively, these results reveal a mechanism for the extensive downstream effects on cellular signaling attributed to NDRG1. Furthermore, this study identifies a novel approach for the treatment of tumors resistant to traditional EGFR inhibitors.
Kovacevic, Z., Menezes, S. V., Sahni, S., Kalinowski, D., Bae, D-H., Lane, D. J. R., & Richardson, D. (2016). The metastasis suppressor, N-myc downstream regulated gene-1 (NDRG1), down-regulates the ErbB family of receptors to inhibit downstream oncogenic signaling pathways. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 291(3), 1029-1052. https://doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M115.689653