CDK5 activates Hippo signaling to confer resistance to radiotherapy via upregulating TAZ in lung cancer

Lung Cancer

Zeng Y, et al. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 2020.


PURPOSE: Tumor resistance to radiotherapy is a therapeutic challenge in the treatment of patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (CDK5) has been proposed to participate in cell proliferation, migration and invasion, drug resistance and immune evasion. However, the functions and regulatory mechanisms of CDK5 in lung cancer radioresistance have not been investigated.

METHODS AND MATERIALS: DNA damage response and repair were measured by neutral comet assay as well as γ-H2AX and Rad51 foci staining. The biological functions of CDK5 in lung cancer radioresistance were investigated with clonogenic survival assays and xenograft tumor models. SiRNAs and ShRNAs were used to knock down CDK5 in A549 and H1299 cells. The effects of CDK5 depletion on the tumorigenic behaviors of lung cancer cells were evaluated in vitro and in vivo. Gene expression was examined by RNA-seq and quantitative real-time PCR.

RESULTS: We report that CDK5 depletion impairs lung cancer progression and radioresistance in vitro and in vivo. Mechanistically, we identify TAZ, a component of the Hippo pathway, as a critical downstream effector of CDK5. Loss of CDK5 downregulates TAZ expression and attenuates Hippo signaling activation. Importantly, we provide evidence that TAZ is the major effector mediating the biological functions of CDK5 in lung cancer.

CONCLUSIONS: These results illustrate that CDK5 activates Hippo signaling via TAZ to participate in tumorigenesis and radioresistance, suggesting that CDK5 may be a promising radiosensitization target for the treatment of lung cancer.