Synthetic lethality results when mutant KRAS and EGFR proteins are co-expressed in human lung adenocarcinoma (LUAD) cells, revealing the biological basis for mutual exclusivity of KRAS and EGFR mutations. We have now defined the biochemical events responsible for the toxic effects by combining pharmacological and genetic approaches and to show that signaling through extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERK1/2) mediates the toxicity. These findings imply that tumors with mutant oncogenes in the RAS pathway must restrain the activity of ERK1/2 to avoid toxicities and enable tumor growth. A dual specificity phosphatase, DUSP6, that negatively regulates phosphorylation of (P)-ERK is up-regulated in EGFR- or KRAS-mutant LUAD, potentially protecting cells with mutations in the RAS signaling pathway, a proposal supported by experiments with DUSP6-specific siRNA and an inhibitory drug. Targeting DUSP6 or other negative regulators might offer a treatment strategy for certain cancers by inducing the toxic effects of RAS-mediated signaling.
- William W Lockwood
- Harold Varmus
- Harold Varmus
- William W Lockwood
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Jonathan A. Cooper, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, United States
© 2018, Unni et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
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Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) are often associated with polysomes, indicating coding potential. However, only a handful of endogenous proteins encoded by putative lncRNAs have been identified and assigned a function. Here, we report the discovery of a putative gastrointestinal-tract-specific lncRNA (LINC00675) that is regulated by the pioneer transcription factor FOXA1 and encodes a conserved small protein of 79 amino acids which we termed FORCP (FOXA1-Regulated Conserved Small Protein). FORCP transcript is undetectable in most cell types but is abundant in well-differentiated colorectal cancer (CRC) cells where it functions to inhibit proliferation, clonogenicity, and tumorigenesis. The epitope-tagged and endogenous FORCP protein predominantly localizes to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). In response to ER stress, FORCP depletion results in decreased apoptosis. Our findings on the initial characterization of FORCP demonstrate that FORCP is a novel, conserved small protein encoded by a mis-annotated lncRNA that regulates apoptosis and tumorigenicity in well-differentiated CRC cells.
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