ERBB3 is an emerging target for cancer therapy among the EGFR family. Contrary to resistance against EGFR and ERBB2 targeting, the genetic inhibition of ERBB3 results in anti-tumorigenic in HCT116 colon cancer cells harboring constitutively active KRAS and PIK3CA mutations. Still, the anti-tumorigenic molecular mechanism has not been defined. We demonstrated in this study that ERBB3 knockdown resulted in cell cycle arrest and activation of Bak and Bax-dependent apoptosis. Apoptosis was irrelevant to the majority of BH3-only pro-apoptotic proteins and correlated with the transcriptional upregulation of Bak and p53-dependent Bax translocation. Treatment with LY294002, a PI3K inhibitor, resulted in cell cycle arrest without apoptosis and a concomitant down-regulation of cap-dependent translation by the suppression of the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway. However, the inhibition of cap-dependent translation by ERBB3 knockdown occurred without altering the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway. In addition, ERBB3 knockdown-induced cell cycle arrest was observed in most colon cancer cells but was accompanied by apoptosis in p53 wild-type cells. These results indicate that ERBB3 is a potential target for EGFR- and ERBB2-resistant colon cancer therapy.
- Cell cycle arrest
- ERBB3 targeting