F-box protein FBXO31 modulates apoptosis and epithelial-mesenchymal transition of cervical cancer via inactivation of the PI3K/AKT-mediated MDM2/p53 axis

Aims: Cervical cancer (CC) is one of the most common malignant tumours in the world and a serious threat to women's health. The dysregulation of protein degradation mediated by F-box proteins is involved in tumorigenesis, and F-box protein FBXO31 has been reported to play an important role in various human cancers. However, the role of FBXO31 in CC remains unclear. This study aimed to investigate the function and underlying regulatory mechanism of FBXO31 in CC.

Main methods: In this study, quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) and western blot were used to measure target gene expression; the Cell Counting Kit-8, cell death ELISA, Transwell invasion assay, wound-healing assay and western blot were applied to assess cell viability, apoptosis, invasion, migration and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), respectively.

Key findings: FBXO31 was expressed at a low level in 37 pairs of CC tissues and three types of CC cell lines. Overexpression of FBXO31 inhibited cell viability, invasion, migration, EMT and induced apoptosis in SiHa cells. FBXO31 promoted p53 activity through suppression of murine double minute 2 (MDM2) expression. Overexpression of MDM2 ameliorated the inhibitory effect of FBXO31 on SiHa cells, while the MDM2/p53 axis-specific inhibitor Nutlin-3a facilitated this inhibitory effect. Further, we confirmed that FBXO31 inactivated MDM2/p53 axis dependence on the phospholipid inositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/protein kinase B (AKT) signalling pathway.

Significance: Collectively, our results reveal that FBXO31 down-regulates CC progression by blocking the PI3K/AKT-mediated MDM2/p53 axis, suggesting that FBXO31 may serve as a promising therapeutic target for CC treatment.

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S8059 Nutlin-3a Nutlin-3a ((-)-Nutlin-3), the active enantiomer of Nutlin-3, inhibits the p53/MDM2 interaction with IC50 of 90 nM in a cell-free assay. Nutlin-3a induces autophagy and apoptosis in a p53-dependent manner. (54) (7)

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