Lipocalin-2 regulates the expression of interferon-stimulated genes and the susceptibility of prostate cancer cells to oncolytic virus infection

Lilach Barer, Sarah K. Schröder, Ralf Weiskirchen*, Eran Bacharach, Marcelo Ehrlich

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Lipocalin-2 (LCN2) performs pleiotropic and tumor context-dependent functions in cancers of diverse etiologies. In prostate cancer (PCa) cells, LCN2 regulates distinct phenotypic features, including cytoskeleton organization and expression of inflammation mediators. Oncolytic virotherapy uses oncolytic viruses (OVs) to kill cancer cells and induce anti-tumor immunity. A main source of specificity of OVs towards tumor cells stems from cancer-induced defects in interferon (IFN)-based cell autonomous immune responses. However, the molecular underpinnings of such defects in PCa cells are only partially understood. Moreover, LCN2 effects on IFN responses of PCa cells and their susceptibility to OVs are unknown. To examine these issues, we queried gene expression databases for genes coexpressed with LCN2, revealing co-expression of IFN-stimulated genes (ISGs) and LCN2. Analysis of human PCa cells revealed correlated expression of LCN2 and subsets of IFNs and ISGs. CRISPR/Cas9-mediated stable knockout of LCN2 in PC3 cells or transient overexpression of LCN2 in LNCaP cells revealed LCN2-mediated regulation of IFNE (and IFNL1) expression, activation of JAK/STAT pathway, and expression of selected ISGs. Accordingly, and dependent on a functional JAK/STAT pathway, LCN2 reduced the susceptibility of PCa cells to infection with the IFN-sensitive OV, EHDV-TAU. In PC3 cells, LCN2 knockout increased phosphorylation of eukaryotic initiation factor 2α (p-eIF2α). Inhibition of PKR-like ER kinase (PERK) in PC3-LCN2-KO cells reduced p-eIF2α while increasing constitutive IFNE expression, phosphorylation of STAT1, and ISG expression; and decreasing EHDV-TAU infection. Together, these data propose that LCN2 regulates PCa susceptibility to OVs through attenuation of PERK activity and increased IFN and ISG expression.

Original languageEnglish
Article number151328
JournalEuropean Journal of Cell Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2023


  • Antiviral response
  • Interferons
  • Lipocalin-2
  • Oncolytic virotherapy
  • Prostate cancer


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