Human secreted proteins SLURP-1 and SLURP-2 control the growth of epithelial cancer cells via interactions with nicotinic acetylcholine receptors
Here we have investigated the effects of the endogenous human proteins SLURP-1 and SLURP-2, antagonists of nAChRs, on human epithelial cancer cells. Experimental Approach: Growth of epithelial cancer cells (A431, SKBR3, MCF-7, A549, HT-29) exposed to SLURP-1, SLURP-2, mecamylamine, atropine, timolol and gefitinib was measured by the WST-1 test. Expression levels of SLURP-1, α7-nAChR and EGF receptors and their distribution in cancer cells were studied by confocal microscopy and flow cytometry. Secretion of endogenous SLURP-1 by A431 cells under treatment with recombinant SLURP-1 was analysed by Western-blotting. Key Results: SLURP-1 and SLURP-2 significantly inhibited growth of A431, SKBR3, MCF-7 and HT-29 cells at concentrations above 1 nM, to 40–70% of the control, in 24 h. Proliferation of A549 cells was inhibited only by SLURP-1. The anti-proliferative activity of SLURPs on A431 cells was associated with nAChRs, but not with β-adrenoceptors or EGF receptors. Action of gefitinib and SLURPs was additive and resulted almost complete inhibition of A431 cell proliferation during 24 h. Exposure of A431 cells to recombinant SLURP-1 down-regulated α7-nAChR expression and induced secretion of endogenous SLURP-1 from intracellular depots, increasing its concentration in the extracellular media. Conclusions and Implications: SLURPs inhibit growth of epithelial cancer cells in vitro and merit further investigation as potential agents for anticancer therapy. Linked Articles: This article is part of a themed section on Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptors.