Human Ly-6/uPAR-related protein-1 (SLURP-1) is an allosteric negative modulator of the α7-type nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (α7-nAChR), one of the key receptors promoting nicotine-induced proliferation of lung cancer cells. Incubation of lung adenocarcinoma A549 cells with recombinant SLURP-1 (rSLURP-1) at concentrations >10 nM resulted in the significant decrease of the cell growth (~70%), while treatment of normal lung-derived WI-38 fibroblasts with rSLURP-1 did not influence the cell proliferation up to 1 μM of the protein. rSLURP-1 fully abolished the nicotine-induced increase of the cell proliferation, down-regulation of the expression of PTEN (the negative regulator of the AKT pathway, controlling the growth, survival, and proliferation of cancer cells), and up-regulation of the α7-nAChR expression in the A549 cells. Using the siRNA against α7-nAChR and inhibitors of different cell-surface receptors, we showed that rSLURP-1 antiproliferative effect in A549 cells is connected with α7-nAChR, epidermal growth factor receptors, and β-adrenergic receptors. Moreover, we found that downstream effectors of rSLURP-1 are IP receptors and the STAT3 transcription factor. Implication of the IP receptors and PTEN in the rSLURP-1 antiproliferative activity points on the AKT-mediated signaling pathway. Co-application of rSLURP-1 with gefitinib and bortezomib (currently used anticancer drugs) resulted in an additive suppression of the A549 cells proliferation up to ~44% and 35%, respectively. Thus, rSLURP-1 could be considered a promising prototype of drugs to prevent nicotine-induced pathologies and cancer treatment.
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