Natriuretic peptide receptor A inhibition suppresses gastric cancer development through reactive oxygen species-mediated G2/M cell cycle arrest and cell death

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Natriuretic peptide receptor A (NPRA), the major receptor for atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP), has been implicated in tumorigenesis; however, the role of ANP-NPRA signaling in the development of gastric cancer remains unclear. Immunohistochemical analyses indicated that NPRA expression was positively associated with gastric tumor size and cancer stage. NPRA inhibition by shRNA induced G2/M cell cycle arrest, cell death, and autophagy in gastric cancer cells, due to accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Either genetic or pharmacologic inhibition of autophagy led to caspase-dependent cell death. Therefore, autophagy induced by NPRA silencing may represent a cytoprotective mechanism. ROS accumulation activated c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) and AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). ROS-mediated activation of JNK inhibited cell proliferation by disturbing cell cycle and decreased cell viability. In addition, AMPK activation promoted autophagy in NPRA-downregulated cancer cells. Overall, our results indicate that the inhibition of NPRA suppresses gastric cancer development and targeting NPRA may represent a promising strategy for the treatment of gastric cancer.

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