Prieto P, Jaén RI, Calle D, Gómez-Serrano M, Núñez E, Fernández-Velasco M, Martín-Sanz P, Alonso S, Vázquez J, Cerdán S, Peinado MÁ, Boscá L.
BACKGROUND: Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second most common cause of cancer death worldwide. It is broadly described that cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) is mainly overexpressed in CRC but less is known regarding post-translational modifications of this enzyme that may regulate its activity, intracellular localization and stability. Since metabolic and proteomic profile analysis is essential for cancer prognosis and diagnosis, our hypothesis is that the analysis of correlations between these specific parameters and COX-2 state in tumors of a high number of CRC patients could be useful for the understanding of the basis of this cancer in humans.
AIM: To analyze COX-2 regulation in colorectal cancer and to perform a detailed analysis of their metabolic and proteomic profile.
METHODS: Biopsies from both healthy and pathological colorectal tissues were taken under informed consent from patients during standard colonoscopy procedure in the University Hospital of Bellvitge (Barcelona, Spain) and Germans Trias i Pujol University Hospital (Campus Can Ruti) (Barcelona, Spain). Western blot analysis was used to determine COX-2 levels. Deglycosylation assays were performed in both cells and tumor samples incubating each sample with peptide N-glycosidase F (PNGase F). Prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) levels were determined using a specific ELISA. 1H high resolution magic angle spinning (HRMAS) analysis was performed using a Bruker AVIII 500 MHz spectrometer and proteomic analysis was performed in a nano-liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometer (nano LC-MS/MS) using a QExactive HF orbitrap MS.
RESULTS: Our data show that COX-2 has a differential expression profile in tumor tissue of CRC patients vs the adjacent non-tumor area, which correspond to a glycosylated and less active state of the protein. This fact was associated to a lesser PGE2 production in tumors. These results were corroborated in vitro performing deglycosylation assays in HT29 cell line where COX-2 protein profile was modified after PNGase F incubation, showing higher PGE2 levels. Moreover, HRMAS analysis indicated that tumor tissue has altered metabolic features vs non-tumor counterparts, presenting increased levels of certain metabolites such as taurine and phosphocholine and lower levels of lactate. In proteomic experiments, we detected an enlarged number of proteins in tumors that are mainly implicated in basic biological functions like mitochondrial activity, DNA/RNA processing, vesicular trafficking, metabolism, cytoskeleton and splicing.
CONCLUSION: In our colorectal cancer cohort, tumor tissue presents a differential COX-2 expression pattern with lower enzymatic activity that can be related to an altered metabolic and proteomic profile.