PAICS, a De Novo Purine Biosynthetic Enzyme, Is Overexpressed in Pancreatic Cancer and Is Involved in Its Progression

Academic Article


  • Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is an aggressive cancer with an extremely poor prognosis. There is an urgent need to identify new therapeutic targets and also understand the mechanism of PDAC progression that leads to aggressiveness of the disease. To find therapeutic targets, we analyzed data related to PDAC transcriptome sequencing and found overexpression of the de novo purine metabolic enzyme phosphoribosylaminoimidazole succinocarboxamide synthetase (PAICS). Immunohistochemical analysis of PDAC tissues showed high expression of the PAICS protein. To assess the biological roles of PAICS, we used RNA interference and knock down of its expression in PDAC cell lines that caused a reduction in PDAC cell proliferation and invasion. Furthermore, results of chorioallantoic membrane assays and pancreatic cancer xenografts demonstrated that PAICS regulated pancreatic tumor growth. Our data also showed that, in PDAC cells, microRNA-128 regulates and targets PAICS. PAICS depletion in PDAC cells caused upregulation in E-cadherin, a marker of the epithelial-mesenchymal transition. In PDAC cells, a BET inhibitor, JQ1, reduced PAICS expression. Thus, our investigations show that PAICS is a therapeutic target for PDAC and, as an enzyme, is amenable to targeting by small molecules.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Agarwal S; Chakravarthi BVSK; Kim HG; Gupta N; Hale K; Balasubramanya SAH; Oliver PG; Thomas DG; Eltoum IEA; Buchsbaum DJ
  • Volume

  • 13
  • Issue

  • 7