Modulation of Calretinin Expression in Human Mesothelioma Cells Reveals the Implication of the FAK and Wnt Signaling Pathways in Conferring Chemoresistance towards Cisplatin.

International Journal of Molecular Science 2019 October 29 [Link]

Wörthmüller J, Salicio V, Oberson A, Blum W, Schwaller B


Malignant mesothelioma (MM) is an aggressive asbestos-linked neoplasm, characterized by dysregulation of signaling pathways. Due to intrinsic or acquired chemoresistance, MM treatment options remain limited. Calretinin is a Ca2+-binding protein expressed during MM tumorigenesis that activates the FAK signaling pathway, promoting invasion and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition. Constitutive calretinin downregulation decreases MM cells’ growth and survival, and impairs tumor formation in vivo. In order to evaluate early molecular events occurring during calretinin downregulation, we generated a tightly controlled IPTG-inducible expression system to modulate calretinin levels in vitro. Calretinin downregulation significantly reduced viability and proliferation of MM cells, attenuated FAK signaling and reduced the invasive phenotype of surviving cells. Importantly, surviving cells showed a higher resistance to cisplatin due to increased Wnt signaling. This resistance was abrogated by the Wnt signaling pathway inhibitor 3289-8625. In various MM cell lines and regardless of calretinin expression levels, blocking of FAK signaling activated the Wnt signaling pathway and vice versa. Thus, blocking both pathways had the strongest impact on MM cell proliferation and survival. Chemoresistance mechanisms in MM cells have resulted in a failure of single-agent therapies. Targeting of multiple components of key signaling pathways, including Wnt signaling, might be the future method-of-choice to treat MM.