Cyclin e-mediated human proopiomelanocortin regulation as a therapeutic target for cushing disease

Ning Ai Liu, Takako Araki, Daniel Cuevas-Ramos, Jiang Hong, Anat Ben-Shlomo, Yukiko Tone, Masahide Tone, Shlomo Melmed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Context: Cushing disease, due to pituitary corticotroph tumor ACTH hypersecretion, drives excess adrenal cortisol production with adverse morbidity and mortality. Loss of glucocorticoid negative feedback on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis leads to autonomous transcription of the corticotroph precursor hormone proopiomelanocortin (POMC), consequent ACTH overproduction, and adrenal hypercortisolism. We previously reported that R-roscovitine (CYC202, seliciclib), a 2,6,9-trisubstituted purine analog, suppresses cyclin-dependent-kinase 2/cyclin E and inhibits ACTH in mice and zebrafish. We hypothesized that intrapituitary cyclin E signaling regulates corticotroph tumor POMC transcription independently of cell cycle progression. The aim was to investigate whether R-roscovitine inhibits human ACTH in corticotroph tumors by targeting the cyclin-dependent kinase 2/cyclin E signaling pathway. Methods: Primary cell cultures of surgically resected human corticotroph tumors were treated with or without R-roscovitine,ACTHmeasuredby RIAandquantitative PCR, and/or Western blot analysis performed to investigate ACTH and lineage-specific transcription factors. Cyclin E and E2F transcription factor 1 (E2F1) small interfering RNA (siRNA) transfection was performed in murine corticotroph tumor AtT20 cells to elucidate mechanisms for drug action. POMC gene promoter activity in response to R-roscovitine treatment was analyzed using luciferase reporter and chromatin immunoprecipitation assays. Results: R-roscovitine inhibits human corticotroph tumor POMC and Tpit/Tbx19 transcription with decreased ACTH expression. Cyclin E and E2F1 exhibit reciprocal positive regulation in corticotroph tumors. R-roscovitine disrupts E2F1 binding to thePOMCgene promoter and suppresses Tpit/Tbx19 and other lineage-specific POMC transcription cofactors via E2F1-dependent and -independent pathways. Conclusion: R-roscovitine inhibitshumanpituitary corticotroph tumorACTHby targeting the cyclin E/E2F1 pathway. Pituitary cyclin E/E2F1 signaling is a previously unappreciated molecular mechanism underlying neuroendocrine regulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, providing a subcellular therapeutic target for small molecule cyclin-dependent kinase 2 inhibitors of pituitary ACTH-dependent hypercortisolism, ie, Cushing disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2557-2564
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015

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Copyright © 2015 by the Endocrine Society.


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