[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Ras/mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway is considered to be a positive regulator of tumor initiation, progression, and maintenance. This study reports an opposite finding: we have found strong evidence that the MAPK pathway is inhibited in a subset of adenoid cystic carcinomas (ACCs) of the salivary glands. ACC tumors consistently overexpress the receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) c-Kit, which has been considered a therapeutic target. We performed mutational analysis of the c-Kit gene (KIT in 17 cases of ACC and found that 2 cases of ACC had distinct missense mutations in KIT at both the genomic DNA and messenger RNA levels. These mutations caused G664R and R796G amino acid substitutions in the kinase domains. Surprisingly, the mutations were functionally inactive in cultured cells. We observed a significant reduction of MAPK (ERK1/2) activity in tumor cells, as assessed by immunohistochemistry. We performed further mutational analysis of the downstream effectors in the c-Kit pathway in the genes HRAS, KRAS, NRAS, BRAF, PIK3CA, and PTEN. This analysis revealed that two ACC tumors without KIT mutations had missense mutations in either KRAS or BRAF, causing S17N K-Ras and V590I B-Raf mutants, respectively. Our functional analysis showed that proteins with these mutations were also inactive in cultured cells. This is the first time that MAPK activity from the RTK signaling has been shown to be inhibited by gene mutations during tumor development. Because ACC seems to proliferate despite inactivation of the c-Kit signaling pathway, we suggest that selective inhibition of c-Kit is probably not a suitable treatment strategy for ACC.
Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.) 09/2010; 12(9):708-17. · 5.48 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Adenoid cystic carcinoma (ACC) is the second most common malignant neoplasm of the salivary glands. Most patients survive more than 5 years after surgery and postoperative radiation therapy. The 10 year survival rate, however, drops to 40%, due to locoregional recurrences and distant metastases. Improving long-term survival in ACC requires the development of more effective systemic therapies based on a better understanding of the biologic behavior of ACC. Much preclinical research in this field involves the use of cultured cells and, to date, several ACC cell lines have been established. Authentication of these cell lines, however, has not been reported. We performed DNA fingerprint analysis on six ACC cell lines using short tandem repeat (STR) examinations and found that all six cell lines had been contaminated with other cells. ACC2, ACC3, and ACCM were determined to be cervical cancer cells (HeLa cells), whereas the ACCS cell line was composed of T24 urinary bladder cancer cells. ACCNS and CAC2 cells were contaminated with cells derived from non-human mammalian species: the cells labeled ACCNS were mouse cells and the CAC2 cells were rat cells. These observations suggest that future studies using ACC cell lines should include cell line authentication to avoid the use of contaminated or non-human cells.
PLoS ONE 02/2009; 4(6):e6040. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cardio-facio-cutaneous (CFC) syndrome is a sporadic developmental disorder characterized by distinctive craniofacial features, heart defects, mental retardation and ectodermal abnormalities. We recently reported missense germline mutations in the genes MEK1 and MEK2 in patients with CFC. These mutations, including F53S and Y130C MEK1, and F57C MEK2, are the first naturally occurring mutations to be identified in these genes. This study reports data concerning the biochemical functions of the novel mutants, as well as the roles of these MEK genes in the MAPK signaling cascade. Our CFC MEK variants cannot induce ERK unless they are phosphorylated by RAF at two key serine residues in the regulatory loop. When we replaced the serine residues with alanines, ERK phosphorylation was significantly reduced in the presence of RAF. We did find that F57C MEK2 activation was less dependent on RAF signaling than the other mutants. This difference results in F57C MEK2 being resistant to the selective RAF inhibitor SB-590885. All three mutants are sensitive to the MEK inhibitor U0126. The majority of CFC cases result from mutations in B-RAF. A recent report indicates the possibility that cancer cells with activated B-RAF have enhanced, selective sensitivity to MEK inhibitors. Thus, regardless of mutations identified in an individual with CFC, MEK inhibition is a potential therapeutic approach for this population.
Human Molecular Genetics 03/2008; 17(3):419-30. · 7.69 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cyclin D1 regulates G1 progression. Its transcriptional regulation is well understood. However, the mechanism underlying cyclin D1 ubiquitination and its subsequent degradation is not yet clear. We report that cyclin D1 undergoes increased degradation in the cytoplasm during S phase in a variety of cancer cells. This is mediated by phosphorylation at Thr286 through the activity of the Ras/Raf/MEK/ERK cascade and the F-box protein FBXW8, which is an E3 ligase. The majority of FBXW8 is expressed in the cytoplasm during G1 and S phase. In contrast, cyclin D1 accumulates in the nucleus during G1 phase and exits into the cytoplasm in S phase. Increased cyclin D1 degradation is linked to association with FBXW8 in the cytoplasm, and enhanced phosphorylation of cyclin D1 through sustained ERK1/2 signaling. Depletion of FBXW8 caused a significant accumulation of cyclin D1, as well as sequestration of CDK1 in the cytoplasm. This resulted in a severe reduction of cell proliferation. These effects could be rescued by constitutive nuclear expression of cyclin D1-T286A. Thus, FBXW8 plays an essential role in cancer cell proliferation through proteolysis of cyclin D1. It may present new opportunities to develop therapies targeting destruction of cyclin D1 or its regulator E3 ligase selectively.