Thymus, brain, and testes-associated (Tbata) is a negative control cell-cycle gene highly expressed in murine thymic epithelial cells (TECs). Tbata protein binds to Uba3, inhibiting formation of Nedd8 E1 and subsequent target degradation via neddylation of several cell cycle control proteins needed for G2/M transition, which may be a major mechanism of TEC growth arrest during thymic involution. Etoposide is a cytotoxic drug which targets the enzyme toposimerase II — increased 2-3 fold during the G2 phase. To further characterize effect of Tbata on the cell cycle, we modified p53 wild-type U2OS cells derived from human osteosarcoma to express a Tbata/mCherry fusion protein when mifepristone is added to culture media. Tbata-expressing cells identified on flow cytometry did exhibit growth arrest, with quantitative assessment of DNA content in U2OS cells by flow cytometry establishing that 32% of Tbata/mCherry-expressing cells were in the G2 phase when exposed to mifepristone for 24 hours, compared to 11% of mCherry-expressing cells. Gene expression studies were consistent with these results. Cells expressing Tbata/mCherry were also more sensitive to etoposide at 0.5, 1, and 5 times the IC50 dose. To test whether p53 function was required, we further modified the cells to overexpress a dominant negative p53 mutant along with Tbata/mCherry. Similar G2 arrest and increased sensitivity to etoposide were observed, indicating that the effects of Tbata did not require normal p53 function. Potential Tbata analogues or mimetics may therefore be used as an adjunct to G2-targeted chemotherapy.

Citation Format: Milos D. Miljkovic, Francis A. Flomerfelt, Ronald E. Gress. Tbata induces G2/M cell cycle arrest and sensitizes osteosarcoma cells to etoposide in a p53-independent manner [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2017; 2017 Apr 1-5; Washington, DC. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2017;77(13 Suppl):Abstract nr 313. doi:10.1158/1538-7445.AM2017-313