Suppression of neurotensin receptor type 1 expression and function by histone deacetylase inhibitors in human colorectal cancers

Xiaofu Wang, Lindsey N. Jackson, Sara M. Johnson, Qingding Wang, B. Mark Evers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Neurotensin, a gut peptide, stimulates the growth of colorectal cancers that possess the high-affinity neurotensin receptor (NTR1). Sodium butyrate (NaBT) is a potent histone deacetylase inhibitor (HDACi) that induces growth arrest, differentiation, and apoptosis of colorectal cancers. Previously, we had shown that NaBT increases nuclear GSK-3β expression and kinase activity; GSK-3β functions as a negative regulator of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) signaling. The purpose of our current study was to determine: (a) whether HDACi alters NTR1 expression and function, and (b) the role of GSK-3β/ERK in NTR1 regulation. Human colorectal cancers with NTR1 were treated with various HDACi, and NTR1 expression and function were assessed. Treatment with HDACi dramatically decreased endogenous NTR1 mRNA, protein, and promoter activity. Overexpression of GSK-3β decreased NTR1 promoter activity (> 30%); inhibition of GSK-3β increased NTR1 expression in colorectal cancer cells, indicating that GSK-3β is a negative regulator of ERK and NTR1. Consistent with our previous findings, HDACi significantly decreased phosphorylated ERK while increasing GSK-3β. Selective MAP/ERK kinase/ERK inhibitors suppressed NTR1 mRNA expression in a time- and dose-dependent fashion, and reduced NTR1 promoter activity by ∼70%. Finally, pretreatment with NaBT prevented neurotensin-mediated cyclooxygenase-2 and c-myc expression and attenuated neurotensininduced interleukin-8 expression. HDACi suppresses endogenous NTR1 expression and function in colorectal cancer cell lines; this effect is mediated, at least in part, through the GSK-3β/ERK pathway. The downregulation of NTR1 in colorectal cancers may represent an important mechanism for the anticancer effects of HDACi.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2389-2398
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Cancer Therapeutics
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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