The inflammasome activates caspase-1 and the release of interleukin-1β (IL-1β) and IL-18, and several inflammasomes protect against intestinal inflammation and colitis-Associated colon cancer (CAC) in animal models. The absent in melanoma 2 (AIM2) inflammasome is activated by double-stranded DNA, and AIM2 expression is reduced in several types of cancer, but the mechanism by which AIM2 restricts tumor growth remains unclear. We found that Aim2-deficient mice had greater tumor load than Asc-deficient mice in the azoxymethane/dextran sodium sulfate (AOM/DSS) model of colorectal cancer. Tumor burden was also higher in Aim2 â '/â '/Apc Min/+ than in APC Min/+ mice. The effects of AIM2 on CAC were independent of inflammasome activation and IL-1β and were primarily mediated by a non-bone marrow source of AIM2. In resting cells, AIM2 physically interacted with and limited activation of DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PK), a PI3K-related family member that promotes Akt phosphorylation, whereas loss of AIM2 promoted DNA-PK-mediated Akt activation. AIM2 reduced Akt activation and tumor burden in colorectal cancer models, while an Akt inhibitor reduced tumor load in Aim2 â '/â ' mice. These findings suggest that Akt inhibitors could be used to treat AIM2-deficient human cancers.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology