Group III phospholipase A2 downregulation attenuated survival and metastasis in ovarian cancer and promotes chemo-sensitization

Upasana Ray, Debarshi Roy, Ling Jin, Prabhu Thirusangu, Julie Staub, Yinan Xiao, Eleftheria Kalogera, Andrea E. Wahner Hendrickson, Grace D. Cullen, Krista Goergen, Ann L. Oberg, Viji Shridhar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Aberrant lipogenicity and deregulated autophagy are common in most advanced human cancer and therapeutic strategies to exploit these pathways are currently under consideration. Group III Phospholipase A2 (sPLA2-III/PLA2G3), an atypical secretory PLA2, is recognized as a regulator of lipid metabolism associated with oncogenesis. Though recent studies reveal that high PLA2G3 expression significantly correlates with poor prognosis in several cancers, however, role of PLA2G3 in ovarian cancer (OC) pathogenesis is still undetermined. Methods: CRISPR-Cas9 and shRNA mediated knockout and knockdown of PLA2G3 in OC cells were used to evaluate lipid droplet (LD) biogenesis by confocal and Transmission electron microscopy analysis, and the cell viability and sensitization of the cells to platinum-mediated cytotoxicity by MTT assay. Regulation of primary ciliation by PLA2G3 downregulation both genetically and by metabolic inhibitor PFK-158 induced autophagy was assessed by immunofluorescence-based confocal analysis and immunoblot. Transient transfection with GFP-RFP-LC3B and confocal analysis was used to assess the autophagic flux in OC cells. PLA2G3 knockout OVCAR5 xenograft in combination with carboplatin on tumor growth and metastasis was assessed in vivo. Efficacy of PFK158 alone and with platinum drugs was determined in patient-derived primary ascites cultures expressing PLA2G3 by MTT assay and immunoblot analysis. Results: Downregulation of PLA2G3 in OVCAR8 and 5 cells inhibited LD biogenesis, decreased growth and sensitized cells to platinum drug mediated cytotoxicity in vitro and in in vivo OVCAR5 xenograft. PLA2G3 knockdown in HeyA8MDR-resistant cells showed sensitivity to carboplatin treatment. We found that both PFK158 inhibitor-mediated and genetic downregulation of PLA2G3 resulted in increased number of percent ciliated cells and inhibited cancer progression. Mechanistically, we found that PFK158-induced autophagy targeted PLA2G3 to restore primary cilia in OC cells. Of clinical relevance, PFK158 also induces percent ciliated cells in human-derived primary ascites cells and reduces cell viability with sensitization to chemotherapy. Conclusions: Taken together, our study for the first time emphasizes the role of PLA2G3 in regulating the OC metastasis. This study further suggests the therapeutic potential of targeting phospholipases and/or restoration of PC for future OC treatment and the critical role of PLA2G3 in regulating ciliary function by coordinating interface between lipogenesis and metastasis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number182
JournalJournal of Experimental and Clinical Cancer Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Group III phospholipase A2
  • Ovarian cancer
  • autophagy
  • chemosensitivity
  • metastasis
  • primary cilia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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