Clusterin knockdown sensitizes prostate cancer cells to taxane by modulating mitosis

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Clusterin (CLU) is a stress-activated molecular chaperone that confers treatment resistance to taxanes when highly expressed. While CLU inhibition potentiates activity of taxanes and other anti-cancer therapies in preclinical models, progression to treatment-resistant disease still occurs implicating additional compensatory survival mechanisms. Taxanes are believed to selectively target cells in mitosis, a complex mechanism controlled in part by balancing antagonistic roles of Cdc25C and Wee1 in mitosis progression. Our data indicate that CLU silencing induces a constitutive activation of Cdc25C, which delays mitotic exit and hence sensitizes cancer cells to mitotic-targeting agents such as taxanes. Unchecked Cdc25C activation leads to mitotic catastrophe and cell death unless cells up-regulate protective mechanisms mediated through the cell cycle regulators Wee1 and Cdk1. In this study, we show that CLU silencing induces a constitutive activation of Cdc25C via the phosphatase PP2A leading to relief of negative feedback inhibition and activation of Wee1-Cdk1 to promote survival and limit therapeutic efficacy. Simultaneous inhibition of CLU-regulated cell cycle effector Wee1 may improve synergistic responses of biologically rational combinatorial regimens using taxanes and CLU inhibitors.

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