Reduced expression of AMPK-beta1 during tumor progression enhances the oncogenic capacity of advanced ovarian cancer.

Molecular cancer

PubMedID: 24602453

Li C, Liu VW, Chiu PM, Yao KM, Ngan HY, Chan DW. Reduced expression of AMPK-beta1 during tumor progression enhances the oncogenic capacity of advanced ovarian cancer. Mol Cancer. 2014;13(1):49.
AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is a key energy sensor that is involved in regulating cell metabolism. Our previous study revealed that the subunits of the heterotimeric AMPK enzyme are diversely expressed during ovarian cancer progression. However, the impact of the variable expression of these AMPK subunits in ovarian cancer oncogenesis remains obscure. Here, we provide evidence to show that reduced expression of the AMPK-beta1 subunit during tumor progression is associated with the increased oncogenic capacity of advanced ovarian cancer cells. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed that AMPK-beta1 levels were reduced in advanced-stage (P = 0.008), high-grade (P = 0.013) and metastatic ovarian cancers (P = 0.008). Intriguingly, down-regulation of AMPK-beta1 was progressively reduced from tumor stages 1 to 3 of ovarian cancer. Functionally, enforced expression of AMPK-beta1 inhibited ovarian-cancer-cell proliferation, anchorage-independent cell growth, cell migration and invasion. Conversely, depletion of AMPK-beta1 by siRNA enhanced the oncogenic capacities of ovarian cancer cells, suggesting that the loss of AMPK-beta1 favors the aggressiveness of ovarian cancer. Mechanistically, enforced expression of AMPK-beta1 increased AMPK activity, which, in turn, induced cell-cycle arrest via inhibition of AKT/ERK signaling activity as well as impaired cell migration/invasion through the suppression of JNK signaling in ovarian cancer cells. Taken together, these findings suggest that the reduced expression of AMPK-beta1 confers lower AMPK activity, which enhances the oncogenic capacity of advanced-stage ovarian cancer.