GRP78-mediated antioxidant response and ABC transporter activity confers chemoresistance to pancreatic cancer cells

Patricia Dauer, Nikita S. Sharma, Vineet K. Gupta, Alice Nomura, Vikas Dudeja, Ashok Saluja, Sulagna Banerjee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Chemoresistance is a major therapeutic challenge that plays a role in the poor statistical outcomes in pancreatic cancer. Unfolded protein response (UPR) is one of the homeostasis mechanisms in cancer cells that have been correlated with chemoresistance in a number of cancers including pancreatic cancer. In this study, we show that modulating glucose regulatory protein 78 (GRP78), the master regulator of the UPR, can have a profound effect on multiple pathways that mediate chemoresistance. Our study showed for the first time that silencing GRP78 can diminish efflux activity of ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters, and it can decrease the antioxidant response resulting in an accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). We also show that these effects can be mediated by the activity of specificity protein 1 (SP1), a transcription factor overexpressed in pancreatic cancer. Thus, inhibition of SP1 negatively affects the UPR, deregulates the antioxidant response of NRF2, as well as ABC transporter activity by inhibiting GRP78-mediated ER homeostasis. Sp1 and NRF2 have been classified as nononcogene addiction genes and thus are imperative to understanding the molecular mechanism of resistance. These finding have huge clinical relevance as both Sp1 and GRP78 are overexpressed in pancreatic cancer patients and increased expression of these proteins is indicative of poor prognosis. Understanding how these proteins may regulate chemoresistance phenotype of this aggressive cancer may pave the way for development of efficacious therapy for this devastating disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1498-1512
Number of pages15
JournalMolecular Oncology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2018


  • GRP78
  • Sp1
  • chemoresistance
  • unfolded protein response

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Genetics
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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