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C-terminal binding protein 2 (CtBP2) is elevated in epithelial ovarian cancer, especially in the aggressive and highly lethal subtype, high-grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC). However, whether HGSOC tumor progression is dependent on CtBP2 or its paralog CtBP1, is not well understood. Here we report that CtBP1/2 repress HGSOC cell apoptosis through silencing of death receptors (DRs) 4/5. CtBP1 or 2 knockdown upregulated DR4/5 expression, and triggered autonomous apoptosis via caspase 8 activation, but dependent on cell-type context. Activation of DR4/5 by CtBP1/2 loss also sensitized HGSOC cell susceptibility to the proapoptotic DR4/5 ligand TRAIL. Consistent with its function as transcription corepressor, CtBP1/2 bound to the promoter regions of DR4/5 and repressed DR4/5 expression, presumably through recruitment to a repressive transcription regulatory complex. We also found that CtBP1 and 2 were both required for repression of DR4/5. Collectively, this study identifies CtBP1 and 2 as potent repressors of DR4/5 expression and activity, and supports the targeting of CtBP as a promising therapeutic strategy for HGSOC.


Boxiao Ding, Fang Yuan, Priyadarshan K Damle, Larisa Litovchick, Ronny Drapkin, Steven R Grossman. CtBP determines ovarian cancer cell fate through repression of death receptors. Cell death & disease. 2020 Apr 24;11(4):286

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PMID: 32332713

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