• The cellular chloride channels CLIC1 and CLIC4 contribute to virus-mediated cell motility

      Stakaityte, G.; Nwogu, N.; Lippiat, J.D.; Blair, G.E.; Poterlowicz, Krzysztof; Boyne, James R.; Macdonald, A.; Mankouri, J.; Whitehouse, A. (2018-03)
      Ion channels regulate many aspects of cell physiology, including cell proliferation, motility, and migration, and aberrant expression and activity of ion channels is associated with various stages of tumor development, with K+ and Cl- channels now being considered the most active during tumorigenesis. Accordingly, emerging in vitro and preclinical studies have revealed that pharmacological manipulation of ion channel activity offers protection against several cancers. Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCPyV) is a major cause of Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC), primarily due to the expression of two early regulatory proteins termed small and large tumour antigens (ST and LT, respectively). Several molecular mechanisms have been attributed to MCPyVmediated cancer formation but thus far, no studies have investigated any potential link to cellular ion channels. Here we demonstrate that Cl- channel modulation can reduce MCPyV STinduced cell motility and invasiveness. Proteomic analysis revealed that MCPyV ST upregulates two Cl- channels; CLIC1 and CLIC4, which when silenced, inhibit MCPyV STinduced motility and invasiveness, implicating their function as critical to MCPyV-induced metastatic processes. Consistent with these data, we confirmed that CLIC1 and CLIC4 are upregulated in primary MCPyV-positive MCC patient samples. We therefore, for the first time, implicate cellular ion channels as a key host cell factor contributing to virus-mediated cellular transformation. Given the intense interest in ion channel modulating drugs for human disease, this highlights CLIC1 and CLIC4 activity as potential targets for MCPyV-induced MCC.
    • Cellular sheddases are induced by Merkel cell polyomavirus small tumour antigen to mediate cell dissociation and invasiveness

      Nwogu, N.; Boyne, James R.; Dobson, S.J.; Poterlowicz, Krzysztof; Blair, G.E.; Macdonald, A.; Mankouri, J.; Whitehouse, A.
      Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is an aggressive skin cancer with a high propensity for recurrence and metastasis. Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCPyV) is recognised as the causative factor in the majority of MCC cases. The MCPyV small tumour antigen (ST) is considered to be the main viral transforming factor, however potential mechanisms linking ST expression to the highly metastatic nature of MCC are yet to be fully elucidated. Metastasis is a complex process, with several discrete steps required for the formation of secondary tumour sites. One essential trait that underpins the ability of cancer cells to metastasise is how they interact with adjoining tumour cells and the surrounding extracellular matrix. Here we demonstrate that MCPyV ST expression disrupts the integrity of cell-cell junctions, thereby enhancing cell dissociation and implicate the cellular sheddases, A disintegrin and metalloproteinase (ADAM) 10 and 17 proteins in this process. Inhibition of ADAM 10 and 17 activity reduced MCPyV ST-induced cell dissociation and motility, attributing their function as critical to the MCPyV-induced metastatic processes. Consistent with these data, we confirm that ADAM 10 and 17 are upregulated in MCPyV-positive primary MCC tumours. These novel findings implicate cellular sheddases as key host cell factors contributing to virus-mediated cellular transformation and metastasis. Notably, ADAM protein expression may be a novel biomarker of MCC prognosis and given the current interest in cellular sheddase inhibitors for cancer therapeutics, it highlights ADAM 10 and 17 activity as a novel opportunity for targeted interventions for disseminated MCC.