Oncogenic activation accompanied by escape from immune surveillance, such as IFN-γ resistance, is critical for cancer cell growth and survival. In this study, we investigated the crosstalk signaling between IFN-γ resistance and signaling of hyperproliferation in gastric cancer cells. IFN-γ inhibited the cell growth of MKN45 cells but not hyperproliferating AGS cells. AGS cells did not respond to IFN-γ because of a decrease in STAT1 but not due to dysfunctional IFN-γ receptors. Signaling of PI3K/AKT, as well as MEK/ERK, was required for the hyperproliferation; notably, PI3K/AKT alone mediated the IFN-γ resistance. Aberrant Src homology-2 domain-containing phosphatase (SHP) 2 determined IFN-γ resistance but unexpectedly had no effects on hyperproliferation or ERK activation. In the IFN-γ resistant cells, inactivation of glycogen synthase kinase (GSK)-3β by PI3K/AKT was important for SHP2 activation but not for hyperproliferation. An imbalance of AKT/GSK-3β/SHP2 caused by a reduction of PTEN was important for the crosstalk between IFN-γ resistance and hyperproliferation. PI3K is constitutively expressed in AGS cells and immunohistochemical staining showed a correlation between hyperproliferation and expression of SHP2 and STAT1 in gastric tumors. These results demonstrate the effects of PTEN/AKT/GSK-3β/SHP2 signaling on IFN-γ resistance in hyperproliferating gastric cancer cells.
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