• Authors: Dasgupta S. et al.
  • Year: 2021
  • Journal: Cell Death Differ
  • Applications: in vivo / siRNA / in vivo-jetPEI


Intratumoral KD of RGS5 and TGFβ1 was achieved by injecting siRNA (10µg/100µl) after complexe with in vivo-jetPEI at N/P = 8. First injection was performed on tumor size reaching 70-90mm2. siRNAs were administered for three times at an interval of 3 days. Mice were sacrificed following 3 days of last injection.


Regulator-of-G-protein-signaling-5 (RGS5), a pro-apoptotic/anti-proliferative protein, is a signature molecule of tumor-associated pericytes, highly expressed in several cancers, and is associated with tumor growth and poor prognosis. Surprisingly, despite the negative influence of intrinsic RGS5 expression on pericyte survival, RGS5highpericytes accumulate in progressively growing tumors. However, responsible factor(s) and altered-pathway(s) are yet to report. RGS5 binds with Gαi/q and promotes pericyte apoptosis in vitro, subsequently blocking GPCR-downstream PI3K-AKT signaling leading to Bcl2 downregulation and promotion of PUMA-p53-Bax-mediated mitochondrial damage. However, within tumor microenvironment (TME), TGFβ appeared to limit the cytocidal action of RGS5 in tumor-residing RGS5highpericytes. We observed that in the presence of high RGS5 concentrations, TGFβ-TGFβR interactions in the tumor-associated pericytes lead to the promotion of pSmad2-RGS5 binding and nuclear trafficking of RGS5, which coordinately suppressed RGS5-Gαi/q and pSmad2/3-Smad4 pairing. The RGS5-TGFβ-pSmad2 axis thus mitigates both RGS5- and TGFβ-dependent cellular apoptosis, resulting in sustained pericyte survival/expansion within the TME by rescuing PI3K-AKT signaling and preventing mitochondrial damage and caspase activation. This study reports a novel mechanism by which TGFβ fortifies and promotes survival of tumor pericytes by switching pro- to anti-apoptotic RGS5 signaling in TME. Understanding this altered RGS5 signaling might prove beneficial in designing future cancer therapy.