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Proteomic insight towards key modulating proteins regulated by the aryl hydrocarbon receptor involved in ovarian carcinogenesis and chemoresistance

journal contribution
submitted on 2024-02-19, 09:45 and posted on 2024-02-19, 12:23 authored by Lubna Therachiyil, Paleerath Peerapen, Shahd M. Younis, Aamir Ahmad, Visith Thongboonkerd, Shahab Uddin, Hesham M. Korashy

Gynecological malignancies pose a severe threat to female lives. Ovarian cancer (OC), the most lethal gynecological malignancy, is clinically presented with chemoresistance and a higher relapse rate. Several studies have highly correlated the incidence of OC to exposure to environmental pollutants, such as 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD), a process mainly mediated through activating the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR). We have previously reported that exposure of OC cells to TCDD, an AhR activator, significantly modulated the expression of several genes that play roles in stemness and chemoresistance. However, the effect of AhR activation on the whole OC cell proteome aiming at identifying novel druggable targets for both prevention and treatment intervention purposes remains unrevealed. For this purpose, we conducted a comparative proteomic analysis of OC cells A2780 untreated/treated with TCDD for 24 h using a mass spectrometry-based label-free shotgun proteomics approach. The most significantly dysregulated proteins were validated by Western blot analysis. Our results showed that upon AhR activation by TCDD, out of 2598 proteins identified, 795 proteins were upregulated, and 611 were downregulated. STRING interaction analysis and KEGG-Reactome pathway analysis approaches identified several significantly dysregulated proteins that were categorized to be involved in chemoresistance, cancer progression, invasion and metastasis, apoptosis, survival, and prognosis in OC. Importantly, selected dysregulated genes identified by the proteomic study were validated at the protein expression levels by Western blot analysis. In conclusion, this study provides a better understanding of the the cross-talk between AhR and several other molecular signaling pathways and the role and involvement of AhR in ovarian carcinogenesis and chemoresistance. Moreover, the study suggests that AhR is a potential therapeutic target for OC prevention and maintenance. Significance To our knowledge, this is the first study that investigates the role and involvement of AhR and its regulated genes in OC by performing a comparative proteomic analysis to identify the critical proteins with a modulated expression upon AhR activation. We found AhR activation to play a tumor-promoting and chemoresistance-inducing role in the pathogenesis of OC. The results of our study help to devise novel therapeutics for better management and prevention and open the doors to finding novel biomarkers for the early detection and prognosis of OC.

Other Information

Published in: Journal of Proteomics
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Open Access funding provided by the Qatar National Library.



  • English



Publication Year

  • 2024

License statement

This Item is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Institution affiliated with

  • Qatar University
  • Qatar University Health - QU
  • College of Pharmacy - QU HEALTH
  • Hamad Medical Corporation
  • Academic Health System - HMC
  • Interim Translational Research Institute - HMC
  • Dermatology Institute - HMC