Rho-associated kinases 1 and 2 (ROCK1/2) are Rho-GTPase effectors that control key aspects of the actin cytoskeleton, but their role in proliferation and cancer initiation or progression is not known. Here we provide evidence that ROCK1 and ROCK2 act redundantly to maintain actomyosin contractility and cell proliferation and that their loss leads to cell-cycle arrest and cellular senescence. This phenotype arises from down-regulation of the essential cell-cycle proteins CyclinA, CKS1 and CDK1. Accordingly, while loss of either Rock1 or Rock2 had no negative impact on tumorigenesis in mouse models of non-small cell lung cancer and melanoma, loss of both blocked tumor formation, as no tumors arise in which both Rock1 and Rock2 have been genetically deleted. Our results reveal an indispensable role for ROCK, yet redundant role for isoforms 1 and 2, in cell cycle progression and tumorigenesis, possibly through the maintenance of cellular contractility.
Animal experimentation: All animal procedures were approved by the Animal Ethics Committee of the Institute of Cancer Research in accordance with National Home Office regulations under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. The date of approval of the current project license under which this work was carried out was the 07/09/13.
- Roger Davis, Howard Hughes Medical Institute & University of Massachusetts Medical School, United States
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