Blocking eIF5A modification in cervical cancer cells alters the expression of cancer-related genes and suppresses cell proliferation

Elisabeth Memin, Mainul Hoque, Mohit R. Jain, Debra S. Heller, Hong Li, Bernadette Cracchiolo, Hartmut M. Hanauske-Abel, Tsafi Pe'ery, Michael B. Mathews

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Cancer etiology is influenced by alterations in protein synthesis that are not fully understood. In this study, we took a novel approach to investigate the role of the eukaryotic translation initiation factor eIF5A in human cervical cancers, where it is widely overexpressed. eIF5A contains the distinctive amino acid hypusine, which is formed by a posttranslational modification event requiring deoxyhypusine hydroxylase (DOHH), an enzyme that can be inhibited by the drugs ciclopirox and deferiprone. We found that proliferation of cervical cancer cells can be blocked by DOHH inhibition with either of these pharmacologic agents, as well as by RNA interference-mediated silencing of eIF5A DOHH, or another enzyme in the hypusine pathway. Proteomic and RNA analyses in HeLa cervical cancer cells identified two groups of proteins in addition to eIF5A that were coordinately affected by ciclopirox and deferiprone. Group 1 proteins (Hsp27, NM23, and DJ-1) were downregulated at the translational level, whereas group 2 proteins (TrpRS and PRDX2) were upregulated at the mRNA level. Further investigations confirmed that eIF5A and DOHH are required for Hsp27 expression in cervical cancer cells and for regulation of its key target IkB and hence NF-kB. Our results argue that mature eIF5A controls a translational network of cancer-driving genes, termed the eIF5A regulon, at the levels of mRNA abundance and translation. In coordinating cell proliferation, the eIF5A regulon can be modulated by drugs such as ciclopirox or deferiprone, which might be repositioned to control cancer cell growth.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)552-562
Number of pages11
JournalCancer Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 15 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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