The HMG-box protein 1 (HBP1) is a transcriptional regulator and a potential tumor suppressor that controls cell proliferation, differentiation and oncogene-mediated senescence. In a previous study, we showed that AKT activation through the PI3K/AKT/FOXO pathway represses HBP1 expression at the transcriptional level in human fibroblasts as well as in cancer cell lines. In the present study, we investigated whether AKT could also regulate HBP1 directly. First, AKT1 phosphorylated recombinant human HBP1 in vitro on three conserved sites, Ser380, Thr484 and Ser509. In living cells, we confirmed the phosphorylation of HBP1 on residues 380 and 509 using phospho-specific antibodies. HBP1 phosphorylation was induced by growth factors, such as EGF or IGF-1, which activated AKT. Conversely, it was blocked by treatment of cells with an AKT inhibitor (MK-2206) or by AKT knockdown. Next, we observed that HBP1 transcriptional activity was strongly modified by mutating its phosphorylation sites. The regulation of target genes such as DNMT1, P47phox, p16INK4A and cyclin D1 was also affected. HBP1 had previously been shown to limit glioma cell growth. Accordingly, HBP1 silencing by small-hairpin RNA increased human glioblastoma cell proliferation. Conversely, HBP1 overexpression decreased cell growth and foci formation. This effect was amplified by mutations that prevented phosphorylation by AKT, and blunted by mutations that mimicked phosphorylation. In conclusion, our results suggest that HBP1 phosphorylation by AKT blocks its functions as transcriptional regulator and tumor suppressor.
Cellular Signalling – Elsevier
Published: Apr 1, 2018
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