Article

Mixed lineage kinase 3 gene mutations in mismatch repair deficient gastrointestinal tumours.

IPATIMUP-Institute of Molecular Pathology and Immunology of the University of Porto, 4200-465 Porto, Portugal.
Human Molecular Genetics (Impact Factor: 7.69). 12/2009; 19(4):697-706. DOI: 10.1093/hmg/ddp536
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Mixed lineage kinase 3 (MLK3) is a serine/threonine kinase, regulating MAPkinase signalling, in which cancer-associated mutations have never been reported. In this study, 174 primary gastrointestinal cancers (48 hereditary and 126 sporadic forms) and 7 colorectal cancer cell lines were screened for MLK3 mutations. MLK3 mutations were significantly associated with MSI phenotype in primary tumours (P = 0.0005), occurring in 21% of the MSI carcinomas. Most MLK3 somatic mutations identified were of the missense type (62.5%) and more than 80% of them affected evolutionarily conserved residues. A predictive 3D model points to the functional relevance of MLK3 missense mutations, which cluster in the kinase domain. Further, the model shows that most of the altered residues in the kinase domain probably affect MLK3 scaffold properties, instead of its kinase activity. MLK3 missense mutations showed transforming capacity in vitro and cells expressing the mutant gene were able to develop locally invasive tumours, when subcutaneously injected in nude mice. Interestingly, in primary tumours, MLK3 mutations occurred in KRAS and/or BRAF wild-type carcinomas, although not being mutually exclusive genetic events. In conclusion, we have demonstrated for the first time the presence of MLK3 mutations in cancer and its association to mismatch repair deficiency. Further, we demonstrated that MLK3 missense mutations found in MSI gastrointestinal carcinomas are functionally relevant.

0 Bookmarks
 · 
130 Views
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: RAF inhibitor therapy yields significant reductions in tumour burden in the majority of V600E-positive melanoma patients; however, resistance occurs within 2-18 months. Here we demonstrate that the mixed lineage kinases (MLK1-4) are MEK kinases that reactivate the MEK/ERK pathway in the presence of RAF inhibitors. Expression of MLK1-4 mediates resistance to RAF inhibitors and promotes survival in V600E-positive melanoma cell lines. Furthermore, we observe upregulation of the MLKs in 9 of 21 melanoma patients with acquired drug resistance. Consistent with this observation, MLKs promote resistance to RAF inhibitors in mouse models and contribute to acquired resistance in a cell line model. Lastly, we observe that a majority of MLK1 mutations identified in patients are gain-of-function mutations. In summary, our data demonstrate a role for MLKs as direct activators of the MEK/ERK pathway with implications for melanomagenesis and resistance to RAF inhibitors.
    Nature Communications 01/2014; 5:3901. · 10.02 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathways are composed of a phosphorelay signaling module where an activated MAP kinase kinase kinase (MAP3K) phosphorylates and activates a MAPK kinase (MAP2K) that in turn phosphorylates and activates a MAPK. The biological outcome of MAPK signaling is the regulation of cellular responses such as proliferation, differentiation, migration, and apoptosis. The MAP3K mixed lineage kinase 3 (MLK3) phosphorylates MAP2Ks to activate multiple MAPK signaling pathways, and MLK3 also has functions in cell signaling that are independent of its kinase activity. The recent elucidation of essential functions for MLK3 in tumour cell proliferation, migration, and invasion has drawn attention to the MLKs as potential therapeutic targets for cancer treatments. The mounting evidence that suggests a role for MLK3 in tumourigenesis and establishment of the malignant phenotype is the focus of this review.
    Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology 04/2013; 91(4):268-74. · 1.56 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: MLK3 gene mutations were described to occur in about 20% of microsatellite unstable gastrointestinal cancers and to harbor oncogenic activity. In particular, mutation P252H, located in the kinase domain, was found to have a strong transforming potential, and to promote the growth of highly invasive tumors when subcutaneously injected in nude mice. Nevertheless, the molecular mechanism underlying the oncogenic activity of P252H mutant remained elusive. In this work, we performed Illumina Whole Genome arrays on three biological replicas of human HEK293 cells stably transfected with the wild-type MLK3, the P252H mutation and with the empty vector (Mock) in order to identify the putative signaling pathways associated with P252H mutation. Our microarray results showed that mutant MLK3 deregulates several important colorectal cancer- associated signaling pathways such as WNT, MAPK, NOTCH, TGF-beta and p53, helping to narrow down the number of potential MLK3 targets responsible for its oncogenic effects. A more detailed analysis of the alterations affecting the WNT signaling pathway revealed a down-regulation of molecules involved in the canonical pathway, such as DVL2, LEF1, CCND1 and c-Myc, and an up-regulation of DKK, a well-known negative regulator of canonical WNT signaling, in MLK3 mutant cells. Additionally, FZD6 and FZD10 genes, known to act as negative regulators of the canonical WNT signaling cascade and as positive regulators of the planar cell polarity (PCP) pathway, a non-canonic WNT pathway, were found to be up-regulated in P252H cells. The results provide an overall view of the expression profile associated with mutant MLK3, and they support the functional role of mutant MLK3 by showing a deregulation of several signaling pathways known to play important roles in the development and progression of colorectal cancer. The results also suggest that mutant MLK3 may be a novel modulator of WNT signaling, and pinpoint the activation of PCP pathway as a possible mechanism underlying the invasive potential of MLK3 mutant cells.
    BMC Cancer 03/2014; 14(1):182. · 3.33 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

View
26 Downloads
Available from
Jun 1, 2014