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Gonzalez-Garcia A, Pritchard CA, Paterson HF, Mavria G, Stamp G, Marshall CJ.. RalGDS is required for tumor formation in a model of skin carcinogenesis. Cancer Cell 7: 219-226

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Abstract

To investigate the role of signaling by the small GTPase Ral, we have generated mice deficient for RalGDS, a guanine nucleotide exchange factor that activates Ral. We show that RalGDS is dispensable for mouse development but plays a substantial role in Ras-induced oncogenesis. Lack of RalGDS results in reduced tumor incidence, size, and progression to malignancy in multistage skin carcinogenesis, and reduced transformation by Ras in tissue culture. RalGDS does not appear to participate in the regulation of cell proliferation, but instead controls survival of transformed cells. Experiments performed in cells isolated from skin tumors suggest that RalGDS mediates cell survival through the activation of the JNK/SAPK pathway. These studies identify RalGDS as a key component in Ras-dependent carcinogenesis in vivo.

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... Mutated and constitutively activated forms of the small GTPase Ras are found in nearly one-third of all human cancers (15). Oncogenic Ras binds to a number of effector proteins to promote transformation and tumorigenesis, including the family of Ral guanine nucleotide exchange factors (RalGEFs) (21,83,85,150). Recruiting RalGEFs to their substrates, the Ras-like GTPases RalA and RalB, converts Rals from an inactive GDP-bound state to an active GTP-bound state (48,84,86). Ral activation is necessary for oncogenic Ras-mediated transformation of a broad variety of human cell types (66,83,154,155). ...
... In RalA, serines 183 and 194 flank a region of positively charged residues, suggesting that phosphorylation of RalA may similarly alter its subcellular localization, causing it to shuttle between internal membranes and the plasma membrane(26). Further studies will be necessary to evaluate the relevance of RalA phosphorylation to its effects on transformation.Genetic evidence for the importance of Ral GTPases in Ras-mediated transformation was provided by knockout of the RalGEF RalGDS, generating mice with a homozygous deletion of RalGDS(150). These mice were developmentally normal and fertile, with no major defects observed in any of the organs analyzed, suggesting thatRalGDS is dispensable for normal mouse development. ...
... This treatment results in the development of benign papillomas with a high incidence of H-Ras mutations, and some of the tumors progress to squamous cell carcinomas(151). RalGDS-null mice displayed a significant delay in the onset of papilloma formation, as well as decreased number and size of papillomas, when compared to wild-type littermates(150). Additionally, MEFs isolated from wild-type and RalGDS-null embryos were immortalized and infected with oncogenic H-Ras to assess the effect of RalGDS deletion on Ras-induced transformation in cell culture. ...
... Studies using a mouse model indicated that RalGDS is a putative effector molecule for Ras-driven transformation and oncogenesis [128,129]. Activated versions of RalGDS have been previously shown to promote the metastasis of prostate cancer cells [130]. It was then found that inhibition of RalGDS activity can reduce the incidence of papillomas which leads to less aggressive behavior of skin cells in vivo [129]. ...
... Activated versions of RalGDS have been previously shown to promote the metastasis of prostate cancer cells [130]. It was then found that inhibition of RalGDS activity can reduce the incidence of papillomas which leads to less aggressive behavior of skin cells in vivo [129]. In line with the previous findings, the importance of RalGEF-Ral signaling has been seen in different stages of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) [103]. ...
Article
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The Ral (Ras-Like) signaling pathway plays an important role in the biology of cells. A plethora of effects is regulated by this signaling pathway and its prooncogenic effectors. Our team has demonstrated the overactivation of the RalA signaling pathway in a number of human malignancies including cancers of the liver, ovary, lung, brain, and malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors. Additionally, we have shown that the activation of RalA in cancer stem cells is higher in comparison with differentiated cancer cells. In this article, we review the role of Ral signaling in health and disease with a focus on the role of this multifunctional protein in the generation of therapies for cancer. An improved understanding of this pathway can lead to development of a novel class of anticancer therapies that functions on the basis of intervention with RalA or its downstream effectors.
... On the basis of these results, Miller et al. 345 further pinpointed that RalGDS functions as an effector of Ras in cAMP-mediated growth stimulation. In 2005, Gonzaĺez-García et al. 346 showed that mice lacking RalGDS presented reduced tumor incidence, size, and progression in a skin cancer model that is induced by the oncogenic H-Ras mutant. This significant finding suggests that RalGDS plays an essential role in Ras-dependent carcinogenesis in vivo. ...
Article
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Ras proteins are classical members of small GTPases that function as molecular switches by alternating between inactive GDP-bound and active GTP-bound states. Ras activation is regulated by guanine nucleotide exchange factors that catalyze the exchange of GDP by GTP, and inactivation is terminated by GTPase-activating proteins that accelerate the intrinsic GTP hydrolysis rate by orders of magnitude. In this review, we focus on data that have accumulated over the past few years pertaining to the conformational ensembles and the allosteric regulation of Ras proteins and their interpretation from our conformational landscape standpoint. The Ras ensemble embodies all states, including the ligand-bound conformations, the activated (or inactivated) allosteric modulated states, post-translationally modified states, mutational states, transition states, and nonfunctional states serving as a reservoir for emerging functions. The ensemble is shifted by distinct mutational events, cofactors, post-translational modifications, and different membrane compositions. A better understanding of Ras biology can contribute to therapeutic strategies.
... RalGDS KO mice are viable and apparently normal, presumably because of functional redundancy among RalGDS-type RalGEFs. In an experimental tumour model, however, RalGDS-null mice exhibit resistance to the generation and growth of skin tumours induced by topical application of carcinogens, which is dependent on H-Ras activating mutations (133). Thus, RalGDS-mediated Ral activation is important for Ras-induced tumourigenesis in vivo. ...
Article
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The Ral GTPases, RalA and RalB, are members of the Ras superfamily of small GTPases. Research on Ral GTPases and their functions over the past 25 years has revealed the essential involvement of these GTPases in unique and diverse cellular processes including exocyst-mediated exocytosis and related cellular activities. Moreover, it is increasingly appreciated that the aberrant activation of Ral GTPases is one of the major causes of human tumorigenesis induced by oncogenic Ras. Recent evidence suggests that Ral signaling pathways may be potential therapeutic targets for the treatment of human cancers. This review summarizes recent advance in the investigation of Ral GTPases. © The Authors 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Japanese Biochemical Society. All rights reserved.
... The influence of CEACAM1-L on RalA signaling via FLNa-binding extends the possibilities how CEACAM1-L could be implicated in oncogenesis. There is increasing evidence that the Ras effector RalA plays a substantial role in Ras-induced oncogenesis (Gonzalez-Garcia et al., 2005;Tchevkina et al., 2005). Further investigation of how CEACAM1 interferes with the RalA signaling pathway also could reveal an explanation for the contradictory potential of CEACAM1 to either suppress tumorigenic characteristics, e.g. in many coloncarcinoma (Neumaier et al., 1993;Nollau et al., 1997;Rosenberg et al., 1993) or to enhance oncogenic properties, e.g. in melanoma (Brummer et al., 2001;Ebrahimnejad et al., 2004;Thies et al., 2002). ...
... RALGPS1 and RALGPS2 contain pleckstrin homology domains but their means of regulation are not well understood [47]. In cancer, elevated expression of numerous RALGEFs is associated with poor survival and increased local invasion and distant metastasis [48][49][50][51][52]. Downregulation of several RALGEFs has been shown to decrease the invasion and migration of cancer cells both in vitro and in vivo through decreased RALA or RALB activity [49,[52][53][54][55][56][57][58]. Interestingly, RCC2 is the only RALGEF to interact with only RALA and not RALB, whereas there has been no evidence of preferential binding in the other RALGEFs [28]. ...
Article
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RALA and RALB are highly homologous small G proteins belonging to the RAS superfamily. Like other small GTPases, the RALs are molecular switches that can be toggled between inactive GDP-bound and active GTP-bound states to regulate diverse and critical cellular functions such as vesicle trafficking, filopodia formation, mitochondrial fission, and cytokinesis. The RAL paralogs are activated and inactivated by a shared set of guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs) and GTPase-activating proteins (GAPs) and utilize similar sets of downstream effectors. In addition to their important roles in normal cell biology, the RALs are known to be critical mediators of cancer cell survival, invasion, migration, and metastasis. However, despite their substantial similarities, the RALs often display striking functional disparities in cancer. RALA and RALB can have redundant, unique, or even antagonistic functions depending on cancer type. The molecular basis for these discrepancies remains an important unanswered question in the field of cancer biology. In this review we examine the functions of the RAL paralogs in normal cellular physiology and cancer biology with special consideration provided to situations where the roles of RALA and RALB are non-redundant.
... Así, numerosos autores defienden que las células que poseen V600E B-RAF tienen mayor dependencia de MEK-ERK para la proliferación que las células que tienen la proteína B-RAF silvestre (296,297). Esto puede ser debido a que, mientras que B-RAF oncogénico activa ERK e induce la expresión de la ciclina D1 (299,300), en tumores con otras mutaciones la señal de ERK puede ser dispensable para la expresión de esta ciclina y otras vías como PI3K o RalGDS pueden tener mayor importancia sobre la proliferación (301,302). ...
... As described above for Kras-driven lung adenocarcinoma formation, only combined loss of both Rala and Ralb significantly reduced papilloma development. Genetic ablation of Ralgds in this same carcinogenesis model also significantly reduced tumor incidence, size, and progression [126]. ...
Article
Since their discovery in 1986, Ral (Ras-like) GTPases have emerged as critical regulators of diverse cellular functions. Ral-selective guanine nucleotide exchange factors (RalGEFs) function as downstream effectors of the Ras oncoprotein, and the RalGEF-Ral signaling network comprises the third best characterized effector of Ras-dependent human oncogenesis. Because of this, Ral GTPases as well as their effectors are being explored as possible therapeutic targets in the treatment of RAS mutant cancer. The two Ral isoforms, RalA and RalB, interact with a variety of downstream effectors and have been found to play key and distinct roles in both normal and neoplastic cell physiology including regulation of vesicular trafficking, migration and invasion, tumor formation, metastasis, and gene expression. In this review we provide an overview of Ral biochemistry and biology, and we highlight recent discoveries.
... In vitro, Ral is involved in intracellular trafficking and regulating gene expression through transcription factors such as AP-1 (Kops et al. 1999;Nakashima et al. 1999;de Ruiter et al. 2000;Moskalenko et al. 2002). DMBA/TPA treated RalGDS-deficient mice had reduced tumor incidence, size and malignant progression (González-García et al. 2005). Further, RalGDS was reported to mediate survival through the JNK/SAPK signaling pathway, so that heightened apoptosis was observed in the papillomas that arose in RalGDS-deficient mice. ...
Article
Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is one of the most common cancers in Caucasian populations and is associated with a significant risk of morbidity and mortality. The classic mouse model for studying SCC involves two-stage chemical carcinogenesis, which has been instrumental in the evolution of the concept of multistage carcinogenesis, as widely applied to both human and mouse cancers. Much is now known about the sequence of biological and genetic events that occur in this skin carcinogenesis model and the factors that can influence the course of tumor development, such as perturbations in the oncogene/tumor-suppressor signaling pathways involved, the nature of the target cell that acquires the first genetic hit, and the role of inflammation. Increasingly, studies of tumor-initiating cells, malignant progression, and metastasis in mouse skin cancer models will have the potential to inform future approaches to treatment and chemoprevention of human squamous malignancies.
... Oncogenic KRAS activates pleiotropic signaling pathways that contribute to tumor initiation and maintenance including the Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase (MAPK), Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinase (PI3K), and Ral Guanine nucleotide Exchange Factor (RalGEF) signaling pathways (Pylayeva- Gupta et al., 2011). Suppression or inhibition of these pathways prevents tumor initiation and slows the growth of established tumors (Ehrenreiter et al., 2009;González-García et al., 2005;Gupta et al., 2007). One consequence of mutant KRAS signaling is aberrant activation of the AP-1 family transcription factors, which promote responses to mitogenic signaling (Karin, 1995). ...
Article
Cancer cells that express oncogenic alleles of RAS typically require sustained expression of the mutant allele for survival, but the molecular basis of this oncogene dependency remains incompletely understood. To identify genes that can functionally substitute for oncogenic RAS, we systematically expressed 15,294 open reading frames in a human KRAS-dependent colon cancer cell line engineered to express an inducible KRAS-specific shRNA. We found 147 genes that promoted survival upon KRAS suppression. In particular, the transcriptional coactivator YAP1 rescued cell viability in KRAS-dependent cells upon suppression of KRAS and was required for KRAS-induced cell transformation. Acquired resistance to Kras suppression in a Kras-driven murine lung cancer model also involved increased YAP1 signaling. KRAS and YAP1 converge on the transcription factor FOS and activate a transcriptional program involved in regulating the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Together, these findings implicate transcriptional regulation of EMT by YAP1 as a significant component of oncogenic RAS signaling.
... RALGEFs act as guanine nucleotide exchange factors and activate RALA and RALB RAS-like small GTPases. Mice deficient in Ralgds showed impaired incidence of chemical carcinogeninduced Hras mutation and formation of squamous cell skin carcinomas (Gonzalez-Garcia et al. 2005). Rala/Ralb-deficient mice showed impaired Kras G12D -induced lung tumors (Peschard et al. 2012). ...
Article
RAS genes (HRAS,KRAS, andNRAS) comprise the most frequently mutated oncogene family in human cancer. With the highestRASmutation frequencies seen with the top three causes of cancer deaths in the United States (lung, colorectal, and pancreatic cancer), the development of anti-RAS therapies is a major priority for cancer research. Despite more than three decades of intense effort, no effective RAS inhibitors have yet to reach the cancer patient. With bitter lessons learned from past failures and with new ideas and strategies, there is renewed hope that undruggable RAS may finally be conquered. With the KRAS isoform mutated in 84% of allRAS-mutant cancers, we focus on KRAS. With a near 100%KRASmutation frequency, pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is considered the most RAS-addicted of all cancers. We review the role of KRAS as a driver and therapeutic target in PDAC.
... The RAS family of oncogenes is among the most mutated in human cancers [25,26] and the mutant proteins are constitutively activated signaling molecules interacting with effector molecules such as RAF, PI3K, RALGDS [27][28][29][30]. We used the IAC approach to isolate an anti-RAS VH single domain and demonstrated that this VH could completely suppress RAS-dependent tumor formation in a mouse lung cancer model [31] and could halt the growth of RAS-mutant-carrying human tumor lines in a mouse xenograft colorectal tumor model [32]. ...
Article
Many proteins of interest in basic biology, translational research studies and for clinical targeting in diseases reside inside the cell and function by interacting with other macromolecules. Protein complexes control basic processes such as development, cell division but also abnormal cell growth when mutations occur such as found in cancer. Interfering with protein-protein interactions is an important aspiration in both basic and disease biology but small molecule inhibitors have been difficult and expensive to isolate. Recently, we have adapted molecular biology techniques to develop a simple set of protocols for isolation of high affinity antibody fragments (in the form of single VH domains) that function within the reducing environment of higher organism cells and can bind to their target molecules. The method called Intracellular Antibody Capture (IAC) has been used to develop inhibitory anti-RAS and anti-LMO2 single domains that have been used for target validation of these antigens in pre-clinical cancer models and illustrate the efficacy of the IAC approach to generation of drug surrogates. Future use of inhibitory VH antibody fragments as drugs in their own right (we term these macrodrugs to distinguish them from small molecule drugs) requires their delivery to target cells in vivo but they can also be templates for small molecule drug development that emulate the binding sites of the antibody fragments. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Recent advances in molecular engineering of antibody.
... Functions of RAL family proteins (RALA and RALB) have been implicated in exocytosis, endocytosis, actin organization and cell migration but the mechanism is not clearly known. Mice lacking RALGDS, one of the four RA domain-containing RALGEFs, were examined to retain viability but exhibited reduced carcinogeninduced mutant H-Ras driven skin tumour formation (Gonzalez-Garcia et al. 2005). Experiments on RNAi/ shRNA-mediated silencing of isoforms of RALGEFs, RALA and/or RALB in Ras-mutant pancreas, skin and lung organs reflect different roles for RAL GTPases in tumour initiation and progression versus maintenance, or cancer-type differences (Chien and White 2003;Lim et al. 2006;Peschard et al. 2012). ...
Article
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RAS effector signaling instead of being simple, unidirectional and linear cascade, is actually recognized as highly complex and dynamic signaling network. RAF-MEK-ERK cascade, being at the center of complex signaling network, links to multiple scaffold proteins through feed forward and feedback mechanisms and dynamically regulate tumor initiation and progression. Three isoforms of Ras harbor mutations in a cell and tissue specific manner. Besides mutations, their epigenetic silencing also attributes them to exhibit oncogenic activities. Recent evidences support the functions of RAS oncoproteins in the acquisition of tumor cells with Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) features/ epithelial plasticity, enhanced metastatic potential and poor patient survival. Google Scholar electronic databases and PubMed were searched for original papers and reviews available till date to collect information on stimulation of EMT core inducers in a Ras driven cancer and their regulation in metastatic spread. Improved understanding of the mechanistic basis of regulatory interactions of microRNAs (miRs) and EMT by reprogramming the expression of targets in Ras activated cancer, may help in designing effective anticancer therapies. Apparent lack of adverse events associated with the delivery of miRs and tissue response make ‘drug target miRNA’ an ideal therapeutic tool to achieve progression free clinical response.
... This strongly indicates a differential effector selectivity of the Ras proteins. The members of the Ras family are known to interact with a wide range of effectors (5,(54)(55)(56)(57)(58)(59)(60)(61) and therefore stimulates various cellular responses. Regarding their physical interaction with E-Ras and H-Ras proteins, five Ras effectors (RAF1, RalGDS, PLCε, PI3Kα and RASSF5), with defined cellular functions ( Fig. 2C) were investigated in this study. ...
Article
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E-Ras is a member of Ras family specifically expressed in embryonic stem cells, gastric tumors and hepatic stellate cells. Unlike classical Ras isoforms (H-, N- and K-Ras4B), E-Ras has, in addition to a striking and remarkable sequence deviations, an extended 38-amino acid long unique N-terminal region with still unknown functions. We investigated the molecular mechanism of E-Ras regulation and function with respect to its sequence and structural features. We found that N-terminal extension of E-Ras is important for E-Ras signaling activity. E-Ras protein most remarkably revealed a different mode of effector interaction as compared to H-Ras, which correlates with deviations in effector binding site of E-Ras. Of all these residues, the tryptophan 79 (arginine 41 in H-Ras), in the interswitch region, modulates the effector selectivity of RAS proteins from H-Ras to E-Ras features. Copyright © 2015, The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
... The best characterized in the context of cancer are the Raf1-MEK-ERK, PI3K, and Ral pathways. Deregulated PI3K signaling (e.g., loss of the negative regulator PTEN) is one of the most commonly mutated tumor suppressors seen in cancer, particularly malignancies of the central nervous system and endometrium [30]; constitutive Raf signaling (e.g., Raf600E mutation) drives approximately 60% of melanoma [31]; elevated Ral expression is seen in colon, bladder and prostate cancers [32]; and RalGDS activation of Ral has been implicated in Ras-driven skin cancer [33]. ...
Article
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Activating mutations in the RasGTPases are the most common oncogenic lesions in human cancer. Similarly, elevated STAT3 expression and/or phosphorylation are observed in the majority of human cancers. We recently found that activated Ras requires a mitochondrial rather than a nuclear activity of STAT3 to support cellular transformation. This mitochondrial activity of STAT3 was supported by phosphorylation on serine 727 (S727) in the carboxyl-terminus of STAT3. In this study we show that the H-Ras oncoprotein engages the MEK-ERK pathway to drive phosphorylation of STAT3 on S727, while phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) and mTOR activity were superfluous. Moreover, pharmacological inhibition of MEK reduced transformation by H-, K- or N-Ras. However, cells expressing a mitochondrially restricted STAT3 with a phospho-mimetic mutation at S727 were partially resistant to inhibition of the ERK pathway, exhibiting a partial rescue of anchorage-independent cell growth in the presence of MEK inhibitor. This study shows that the MEK-ERK pathway is required for activated Ras-induced phosphorylation of STAT3 on S727, that inhibition of STAT3 S727 phosphorylation contributes to the anti-oncogenic potential of MEK inhibitors, and that mitochondrial STAT3 is one of the critical substrates of the Ras-MEK-ERK- axis during cellular transformation.
... Notably, RalA was frequently activated in a panel of pancreatic cancer cell lines, most of which known to have an activating mutation in the K-ras gene [63]. In addition, the RalGEF RalGDS was shown to be required for tumor formation in a mouse model of skin carcinogenesis [93]. ...
... Because activation of RAL has been described as a predominantly RAS-dependent oncogenic survival pathway in various cancer entities, 29,[45][46][47][48] we also sought to test the putative functional link between oncogenic RAS and RAL activation in MM using pulldown assays and RNA sequencing. We found that in the MM cells tested, RAL activation could not be ascribed to the presence of oncogenic RAS (as defined by harboring activating point mutations in NRAS or KRAS). ...
Article
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Oncogenic RAS provides crucial survival signaling for up to half of multiple myeloma cases, but has so far remained a clinically undruggable target. RAL is a member of the RAS superfamily of small GTPases and is considered to be a potential mediator of oncogenic RAS signaling. In primary multiple myeloma, we found RAL to be overexpressed in the vast majority of samples when compared with pre-malignant monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance or normal plasma cells. We analyzed the functional effects of RAL abrogation in myeloma cell lines and found that RAL is a critical mediator of survival. RNAi-mediated knockdown of RAL resulted in rapid induction of tumor cell death, an effect which was independent from signaling via mitogen-activated protein kinase, but appears to be partially dependent on Akt activity. Notably, RAL activation was not correlated with the presence of activating RAS mutations and remained unaffected by knockdown of oncogenic RAS. Furthermore, transcriptome analysis yielded distinct RNA expression signatures after knockdown of either RAS or RAL. Combining RAL depletion with clinically relevant anti-myeloma agents led to enhanced rates of cell death. Our data demonstrate that RAL promotes multiple myeloma cell survival independently of oncogenic RAS and, thus, this pathway represents a potential therapeutic target in its own right.
... We identified strong GTP-dependent PPIs between KRAS and the RALGEFs RALGDS, RGL1, and RGL2 in HEK293 cells. While RALGEFs, and their RAL GTPase substrates, are linked to cell proliferation and carcinogenesis (29)(30)(31), they remain incompletely understood. ...
Preprint
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Activating mutations in RAS GTPases drive one fifth of cancers, but poor understanding of many RAS effectors and regulators, and of the roles of their different paralogs, continues to impede drug development. We developed a multi-stage discovery and screening process to understand RAS function and identify RAS-related susceptibilities in lung adenocarcinoma. Using affinity purification mass spectrometry (AP/MS), we generated a protein-protein interaction map of the RAS pathway containing thousands of interactions. From this network we constructed a CRISPR dual knockout library targeting 119 RAS-related genes that we screened for genetic interactions (GIs). We found important new effectors of RAS-driven cellular functions, RADIL and the GEF RIN1, and over 250 synthetic lethal GIs, including a potent KRAS -dependent interaction between RAP1GDS1 and RHOA . Many GIs link specific paralogs within and between gene families. These findings illustrate the power of the multiomic approach to identify synthetic lethal combinations for hitherto undruggable cancers. STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE We present a thorough survey of protein-protein and genetic interactions in the Ras pathway. These interactions suggested new discoveries that we validate here, and demonstrate important new paralog specificities and redundancies. By comparing synthetic lethal interactions across KRAS -dependent and -independent tumors, we identify new combination therapy targets against Ras-driven cancers.
... Central to this understanding is an engineered RAS effector mutant, E37G, which binds selectively to RALGEF effectors (but not RAF or PI3K) and retains a capacity to induce tumourigenesis of human cells [58]. Also, homozygous deletion of RALGDS causes resistance to HRAS-induced skin squamous cell carcinomas, and aberrant expression of RGL2 is implicated in pancreatic cancer [59,60]. RALGEFs therefore provide a means for RAS GTPases to regulate RAL signalling pathways, generating cross-talk to several RHO GTPases and linking RAS to trafficking and cytoskeletal organization. ...
Article
RAS GTPases are fundamental regulators of development and drivers of an extraordinary number of human cancers. RAS oncoproteins constitutively signal through downstream effector proteins, triggering cancer initiation, progression and metastasis. In the absence of targeted therapeutics to mutant RAS itself, inhibitors of downstream pathways controlled by the effector kinases RAF and PI3K have become tools in the treatment of RAS-driven tumours. Unfortunately, the efficacy of this approach has been greatly minimized by the prevalence of acquired drug resistance. Decades of research have established that RAS signalling is highly complex, and in addition to RAF and PI3K these small GTPase proteins can interact with an array of alternative effectors that feature RAS binding domains. The consequence of RAS binding to these effectors remains relatively unexplored, but these pathways may provide targets for combinatorial therapeutics. We discuss here three candidate alternative effectors: RALGEFs, RASSF5 and AFDN, detailing their interaction with RAS GTPases and their biological significance. The metastatic nature of RAS-driven cancers suggests more attention should be granted to these alternate pathways, as they are highly implicated in the regulation of cell adhesion, polarity, cell size and cytoskeletal architecture.
... While the reasons for this apparent discrepancy in tumorigenic function remain unclear, two models seem most likely. First, that knockout of both proteins [34], or of an upstream GEF [37], is required to inhibit tumorigenesis in mouse models may indicate a functional overlap between rodent RalA and RalB that has been lost in the human proteins. Another possibility is that the same level of functional divergence exists between rodent and human RalA and RalB, but that MAP kinase signaling or some other tumorigenic pathway is sufficient to overcome the loss of RalA in the transformation of rodent, but not human cells. ...
Article
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Purpose: B-cell receptor (BCR) signaling is critical for the pathogenesis of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL), promoting both malignant cell survival and disease progression. Although vital, understanding of the wider signaling network associated with malignant BCR stimulation is poor. This is relevant with respect to potential changes in response to therapy, particularly involving kinase inhibitors. In the current study we describe a novel high-resolution approach to investigate BCR signaling in primary CLL cells and track the influence of therapy on signaling response. Experimental design: A kinobead/mass-spectrometry-based protocol was used to study BCR signaling in primary CLL cells. Longitudinal analysis of samples donated by clinical trial patients was used to investigate the impact of chemoimmunotherapy and ibrutinib on signaling following surface IgM engagement. Complementary Nanostring and immunoblotting analysis was used to verify our findings. Results: Our protocol isolated a unique, patient-specific signature of over 30 kinases from BCR-stimulated CLL cells. This signature was associated with 13 distinct KEGG pathways and showed significant change in cells from treatment-naïve patients compared to those from patients who had previously undergone therapy. This change was validated by longitudinal analysis of clinical trials samples where BCR-induced kinome responses in CLL cells altered between baseline and disease progression in patients failing chemoimmunotherapy and between baseline and treatment in patients taking ibrutinib. Conclusions: These data comprise the first comprehensive proteomic investigation of the BCR signaling response within CLL cells and reveal unique evidence that these cells undergo adaptive reprogramming of this signaling in response to therapy.
... In patients with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, the aberrant expression of RGL2, a RalGEF, was associated with the increased activation of Ral (Vigil, Martin, et al. 2010). RalGDS, another RalGEF, played a critical role in Ras-dependent chemical-induced skin carcinogenesis in mice (Gonzalez-Garcia et al. 2005). In this current study, however, we detected all RalGEFs in the 8 OSCC cell lines used and found no correlation between Ral activation states and expression levels of either RalGEF examined. ...
Article
Ral small GTPases, consisting of RalA and RalB, are members of the Ras family. Their activity is upregulated by RalGEFs. Since several RalGEFs are downstream effectors of Ras, Ral is activated by the oncogenic mutant Ras. Ral is negatively regulated by RalGAP complexes that consist of a catalytic α1 or α2 subunit and its common partner β subunit and similarly regulate the activity of RalA as well as RalB in vitro. Ral plays an important role in the formation and progression of pancreatic and lung cancers. However, the involvement of Ral in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) is unclear. In this study, we investigated OSCC by focusing on Ral. OSCC cell lines with high Ral activation exhibited higher motility. We showed that knockdown of RalGAPβ increased the activation level of RalA and promoted the migration and invasion of HSC-2 OSCC cells in vitro. In contrast, overexpression of wild-type RalGAPα2 in TSU OSCC cells attenuated the activation level of RalA and inhibited cell migration and invasion. Real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction analysis of samples from patients with OSCC showed that RalGAPα2 was downregulated in oral cancer tissues as compared with normal epithelia. Among patients with OSCC, those with a lower expression of RalGAPα2 showed a worse overall survival rate. A comparison of DNA methylation and histone modifications of the RalGAPα2 gene in OSCC cell lines suggested that crosstalk among DNA methylation, histone H4Ac, and H3K27me2 was involved in the downregulation of RalGAPα2. Thus, activation of Ral GTPase by downregulation of RalGAP expression via a potential epigenetic mechanism may enhance OSCC progression.
... It further acts as a GEF for the activation of Ral GTPases. Studies in skin cancer models have proven the indispensable role of RalGDS in Ras-induced oncogenesis [29]. ...
Article
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The central protein in the oncogenic circuitry is the Ras GTPase that has been under intense scrutiny for the last four decades. From its discovery as a viral oncogene and its non–oncogenic contribution to crucial cellular functioning, an elaborate genetic, structural, and functional map of Ras is being created for its therapeutic targeting. Despite decades of research, there still exist lacunae in our understanding of Ras. The complexity of the Ras functioning is further exemplified by the fact that the three canonical Ras genes encode for four protein isoforms (H-Ras, K-Ras4A, K-Ras4B, and N-Ras). Contrary to the initial assessment that the H-, K-, and N-Ras isoforms are functionally similar, emerging data are uncovering crucial differences between them. These Ras isoforms exhibit not only cell–type and context-dependent functions but also activator and effector specificities on activation by the same receptor. Preferential localization of H-, K-, and N-Ras in different microdomains of the plasma membrane and cellular organelles like Golgi, endoplasmic reticulum, mitochondria, and endosome adds a new dimension to isoform-specific signaling and diverse functions. Herein, we review isoform-specific properties of Ras GTPase and highlight the importance of considering these towards generating effective isoform-specific therapies in the future.
Article
A number of studies have identified a shared susceptibility locus in phospholipase C epsilon 1 (PLCE1) for esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) and gastric cardia adenocarcinomas (GCA). However, the results of PLCE1 expression in esophageal and gastric cancer remain inconsistent and controversial. Moreover, the effects on clinicopathological features remain undetermined. This study aimed to provide a precise quantification of the association between PLCE1 expression and the risk of ESCC and GCA through meta-analysis. Eligible studies were identified from PubMed, Wanfang Data, ISI Web of Science, and the Chinese National Knowledge Infrastructure databases. Using RevMan5.2 software, pooled odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were employed to assess the association of PLCE1 expression with clinicopathological features relative to ESCC or GCA. Seven articles were identified, including 761 esophageal and gastric cancer cases and 457 controls. Overall, we determined that PLCE1 expression was associated with tumor progression in both esophageal cancers (pooled OR=5.93; 95%CI=3.86 to 9.11) and gastric cancers (pooled OR=9.73; 95%CI=6.46 to 14.7). Moreover, invasion depth (pooled OR=3.62; 95%CI=2.30 to 5.70) and lymph node metastasis (pooled OR=4.21; 95%CI=2.69 to 6.59) were linked with PLCE1 expression in gastric cancer. However, no significant associations were determined between PLCE1 overexpression and the histologic grade, invasion depth, and lymph node metastasis in esophageal cancer. Our meta- analysis results indicated that upregulated PLCE1 is significantly associated with an increased risk of tumor progression in ESCC and GCA. Therefore, PLCE1 expression can be appropriately regarded as a promising biomarker for ESCC and GCA patients.
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Despite more than three decades of intensive effort, no effective pharmacological inhibitors of the RAS oncoproteins have reached the clinic, prompting the widely held perception that RAS proteins are 'undruggable'. However, recent data from the laboratory and the clinic have renewed our hope for the development of RAS-inhibitory molecules. In this Review, we summarize the progress and the promise of five key approaches. Firstly, we focus on the prospects of using direct inhibitors of RAS. Secondly, we address the issue of whether blocking RAS membrane association is a viable approach. Thirdly, we assess the status of targeting RAS downstream effector signalling, which is arguably the most favourable current approach. Fourthly, we address whether the search for synthetic lethal interactors of mutant RAS still holds promise. Finally, RAS-mediated changes in cell metabolism have recently been described and we discuss whether these changes could be exploited for new therapeutic directions. We conclude with perspectives on how additional complexities, which are not yet fully understood, may affect each of these approaches.
Article
Ras proteins play a major role in human cancers but have not yielded to therapeutic attack. Ras-driven cancers are among the most difficult to treat and often excluded from therapies. The Ras proteins have been termed "undruggable," based on failures from an era in which understanding of signaling transduction, feedback loops, redundancy, tumor heterogeneity, and Ras' oncogenic role was poor. Structures of Ras oncoproteins bound to their effectors or regulators are unsolved, and it is unknown precisely how Ras proteins activate their downstream targets. These knowledge gaps have impaired development of therapeutic strategies. A better understanding of Ras biology and biochemistry, coupled with new ways of targeting undruggable proteins, is likely to lead to new ways of defeating Ras-driven cancers.
Poster
BCR/ABL is the causative agent of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). Through structure/function analysis, several protein motifs have been determined to be important for the development of leukemogenesis. Tyrosine177 of BCR is a Grb2 binding site required for BCR/ABL-induced CML in mice. In the current study, we use a mouse bone marrow transduction/transplantation system to demonstrate that addition of oncogenic NRAS (NRASG12D) to a vector containing a BCR/ABL(Y177F) mutant "rescues" the CML phenotype rapidly and efficiently. To further narrow down the pathways downstream of RAS that are responsible for this rescue effect, we utilize well-characterized RAS effector loop mutants and determine that the RAL pathway is important for rapid induction of CML. Inhibition of this pathway by a dominant negative RAL is capable of delaying disease progression. Results from the present study support the notion of RAL inhibition as a potential therapy for BCR/ABL-induced CML.
Article
Recognition that Ral guanine nucleotide exchange factors (RalGEFs) are direct Ras effectors and that Ral G-protein activation is a direct consequence of Ras activation has spurred focused efforts to establish the contribution of RalGEF/Ral signaling to oncogenic transformation. Here, we provide a broad-strokes overview of the mechanistic organization of the RalGEF/Ral signaling network, evaluate the evidence for participation of this network in tumorigenic regulatory milieus, consider targeting strategies, and discuss the challenges to and opportunities for clinical development of these targeting strategies.
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The RAS GTPase directs cell proliferation and survival by selectively relaying signals amid a dynamic network of regulatory enzymes and protein interactions. Oncogenic mutation of RAS alters cell growth by deleteriously controlling output to RAS-binding effectors. Mechanisms underlying multieffector interactions for both wild-type and oncogenic RAS are poorly understood owing to challenges in quantifying outputs to multiple pathways in parallel. Using highly selective NMR probes for wild-type and oncogenic (G12V) RAS, we develop a systematic approach that quantitatively measures RAS output in composite mixtures of GEF, GAP and effector RAS-binding domains (RBDs). We derive effector signaling hierarchies and establish how oscillating concentrations generate effector 'switching'. The G12V mutation highly perturbs this system, specifically altering interactions with RAL GTPase-specific GEFs and RAF kinases. We further reveal that RAS-RBD complexes show extensive feedback to full-length regulatory proteins. Our approach quantifies output from signaling hubs, here providing an integrated view of the RAS network.
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Phospholipase Cε (PLCε) has been characterized as a direct effector of Ras in vitro and in cellular systems; however, the role of PLCε in tumorigenesis and its link to Ras in this context remain unclear. To assess the role of PLCε in Ras-driven cancers, we generated two new mouse strains: one carrying a targeted deletion of Plce (Plce(-/-)) and the other carrying mutant alleles of Plce unable to bind to Ras (Plce(RAm/RAm)). The Plce(-/-) and, to a lesser degree, Plce(RAm/RAm) transgenic mice exhibited increased susceptibility to tumor formation in the two-stage skin carcinogenesis protocol, revealing a tumor suppressor function for this PLC. This result also suggests that in this context Ras binding in part regulates functions of PLCε. Although significant differences were not seen in the LSL-Kras(G12D) nonsmall cell lung carcinoma model, down-regulation of PLCε was found in animal tumors and in cellular systems following expression of the oncogenic Ras. An inhibitory impact of PLCε on cell growth requires intact lipase activity and is likely mediated by protein kinase C enzymes. Further cellular studies suggest involvement of histone deacetylase in the mechanism of PLCε down-regulation. Taken together, our results show a previously unidentified tumor suppressor role for this PLC in animal models and, together with observations of marked down-regulation in colorectal, lung, and skin tumors, suggest its use as a biological marker in cancer.
Article
MEK inhibitors are clinically active in BRAF(V600E) melanomas but only marginally so in KRAS mutant tumors. Here, we found that MEK inhibitors suppress ERK signaling more potently in BRAF(V600E), than in KRAS mutant tumors. To understand this, we performed an RNAi screen in a KRAS mutant model and found that CRAF knockdown enhanced MEK inhibition. MEK activated by CRAF was less susceptible to MEK inhibitors than when activated by BRAF(V600E). MEK inhibitors induced RAF-MEK complexes in KRAS mutant models, and disrupting such complexes enhanced inhibition of CRAF-dependent ERK signaling. Newer MEK inhibitors target MEK catalytic activity and also impair its reactivation by CRAF, either by disrupting RAF-MEK complexes or by interacting with Ser 222 to prevent MEK phosphorylation by RAF.
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Background Mutated and non-mutated genes interact to drive cancer growth and metastasis. While research has focused on understanding the impact of mutated genes on cancer biology, understanding non-mutated genes that are essential to tumor development could lead to new therapeutic strategies. The recent advent of high-throughput whole genome sequencing being applied to many different samples has made it possible to calculate if genes are significantly non-mutated in a specific cancer patient cohort. Methods We carried out random mutagenesis simulations of the human genome approximating the regions sequenced in the publicly available Cancer Growth Atlas Project for ovarian cancer (TCGA-OV). Simulated mutations were compared to the observed mutations in the TCGA-OV cohort and genes with the largest deviations from simulation were identified. Pathway analysis was performed on the non-mutated genes to better understand their biological function. We then compared gene expression, methylation and copy number distributions of non-mutated and mutated genes in cell lines and patient data from the TCGA-OV project. To directly test if non-mutated genes can affect cell proliferation, we carried out proof-of-concept RNAi silencing experiments of a panel of nine selected non-mutated genes in three ovarian cancer cell lines and one primary ovarian epithelial cell line. Results We identified a set of genes that were mutated less than expected (non-mutated genes) and mutated more than expected (mutated genes). Pathway analysis revealed that non-mutated genes interact in cancer associated pathways. We found that non-mutated genes are expressed significantly more than mutated genes while also having lower methylation and higher copy number states indicating that they could be functionally important. RNAi silencing of the panel of non-mutated genes resulted in a greater significant reduction of cell viability in the cancer cell lines than in the non-cancer cell line. Finally, as a test case, silencing ANKLE2, a significantly non-mutated gene, affected the morphology, reduced migration, and increased the chemotherapeutic response of SKOV3 cells. Conclusion We show that we can identify significantly non-mutated genes in a large ovarian cancer cohort that are well-expressed in patient and cell line data and whose RNAi-induced silencing reduces viability in three ovarian cancer cell lines. Targeting non-mutated genes that are important for tumor growth and metastasis is a promising approach to expand cancer therapeutic options.
Article
Activating mutations in the K-Ras oncogene occur in approximately 90 % of cases of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, and tumors containing mutant K-Ras often acquire a dependency on the expression of the oncogene. Therapies that block the oncogenic functions of K-Ras could have clinical efficacy for a disease that is currently refractory to all forms of treatment. This chapter describes the evidence, from both in vitro studies and studies using genetic mouse models, of the importance of oncogenic K-Ras and its downstream signaling pathways in driving pancreatic tumor formation and cancer cell growth. © Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013. All rights are reserved.
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Ral GTPases are RAS effector molecules and by implication a potential therapeutic target for RAS mutant cancer. However, very little is known about their roles in stem cells and tissue homeostasis. Using Drosophila, we identified expression of RalA in intestinal stem cells (ISCs) and progenitor cells of the fly midgut. RalA was required within ISCs for efficient regeneration downstream of Wnt signaling. Within the murine intestine, genetic deletion of either mammalian ortholog, Rala or Ralb, reduced ISC function and Lgr5 positivity, drove hypersensitivity to Wnt inhibition, and impaired tissue regeneration following damage. Ablation of both genes resulted in rapid crypt death. Mechanistically, RALA and RALB were required for efficient internalization of the Wnt receptor Frizzled-7. Together, we identify a conserved role for RAL GTPases in the promotion of optimal Wnt signaling, which defines ISC number and regenerative potential.
Article
Significance RalA and RalB are membrane-attached small GTPases that are crucial for tumorigenesis and uncontrolled growth in Ras-driven cancers. The C-terminal tails of several Ras and Rho family small G proteins, which are lipidated in vivo, bind to the calcium sensor calmodulin. We have solved the structure of calmodulin in complex with the lipidated C-terminal tail of RalA and show that complex formation leads to RalA being removed from the lipid bilayer. We propose a mechanism for membrane removal of RalA, helping to shed light on the regulatory role that calmodulin plays in Ral signaling. This structure of a lipidated small G protein tail in complex with calmodulin may give clues about calmodulin interactions with other small G proteins, including K-Ras4B.
Article
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a heterogeneous disease caused by the accumulation of multistep genetic alterations under the influence of genomic instability. Different backgrounds of genomic instability, such as chromosomal instability, microsatellite instability, hypermutated-single nucleotide variants, and genome stable-induced transformation in the colonic epithelium, can result in adenomas, adenocarcinomas, and metastatic tumors. Characterization of molecular subtypes and establishment of treatment policies based on each subtype will lead to better treatment outcomes and an improved selection of molecularly targeted agents. In Japan, cancer precision medicine has been introduced in the National Health Insurance program through the addition of the cancer genomic profiling (CGP) examination. It has also become possible to access a large amount of genomic information, including information on pathogenic somatic and germline variants, incomparable to conventional diagnostic tests. This information enables us to apply research data to clinical decision-making, benefiting patients and their healthy family members. In this article, we discuss the important molecules and signaling pathways presumed to be the driver genes of CRC progression and the signal transduction system in which they are involved. Molecular subtypes of CRC based on CGP examinations and gene expression profiles have been established in The Cancer Genome Atlas Network with the advent of next-generation sequencing technology. We will also discuss the recommended management of secondary/germline findings, pathogenic germline variants, and presumed germline pathogenic variants obtained from CGP examination and review the current challenges to better understand these data in a new era of cancer genomic medicine. Fullsize Image
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RAS-like (RAL) GTPases function in Wnt signalling-dependent intestinal stem cell proliferation and regeneration. Whether RAL proteins work as canonical RAS effectors in the intestine, and the mechanisms of how they contribute to tumourigenesis remain unclear. Here, we show that RAL GTPases are necessary and sufficient to activate EGFR/MAPK signalling in the intestine, via induction of EGFR internalisation. Knocking down Drosophila RalA from intestinal stem and progenitor cells leads to increased levels of plasma membrane-associated EGFR and decreased MAPK pathway activation. Importantly, in addition to impacting stem cell proliferation during damage-induced intestinal regeneration, this role of RAL GTPases impacts on EGFR-dependent tumorigenic growth in the intestine and in human mammary epithelium. However, the effect of oncogenic RAS in the intestine is independent from RAL function. Altogether, our results reveal previously unrecognised cellular and molecular contexts where RAL GTPases become essential mediators of adult tissue homeostasis and malignant transformation.
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The small GTPases RalA and RalB are members of the Ras family, and activated downstream of Ras. Ral proteins are found in GTP-bound active and GDP-bound inactive forms. The activation process is executed by guanine nucleotide exchange factors while inactivation is mediated by GTPase-activating proteins (GAPs). RalGAPs are complexes that consist of a catalytic α1 or α2 subunit together with a common β subunit. Several reports implicate the importance of Ral in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). However, there are few reports on the relationship between levels of RalGAP expression and malignancy in PDAC. We generated RalGAPβ-deficient PDAC cells by CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing to investigate how increased Ral activity affects malignant phenotypes of PDAC cells. RalGAPβ-deficient PDAC cells exhibited several-fold higher Ral activity relative to control cells. They had a high migratory and invasive capacity. The RalGAPβ-deficient cells grew more rapidly than control cells when injected subcutaneously into nude mice. When injected into the spleen, the RalGAPβ-deficient cells formed larger splenic tumors with more liver metastases, and unlike controls, they disseminated into the abdominal cavity. These results indicate that RalGAPβ deficiency in PDAC cells contributes to high activities of RalA and RalB, leading to enhanced cell migration and invasion in vitro, and tumor growth and metastasis in vivo.
Article
Activating mutations in RAS GTPases drive many cancers, but limited understanding of less-studied RAS interactors, and of the specific roles of different RAS interactor paralogs, continues to limit target discovery. We developed a multistage discovery and screening process to systematically identify genes conferring RAS-related susceptibilities in lung adenocarcinoma. Using affinity purification mass spectrometry, we generated a protein–protein interaction map of RAS interactors and pathway components containing hundreds of interactions. From this network, we constructed a CRISPR dual knockout library targeting 119 RAS-related genes that we screened for KRAS-dependent genetic interactions (GI). This approach identified new RAS effectors, including the adhesion controller RADIL and the endocytosis regulator RIN1, and >250 synthetic lethal GIs, including a potent KRAS-dependent interaction between RAP1GDS1 and RHOA. Many GIs link specific paralogs within and between gene families. These findings illustrate the power of multiomic approaches to uncover synthetic lethal combinations specific for hitherto untreatable cancer genotypes. Significance We establish a deep network of protein–protein and genetic interactions in the RAS pathway. Many interactions validated here demonstrate important specificities and redundancies among paralogous RAS regulators and effectors. By comparing synthetic lethal interactions across KRAS-dependent and KRAS-independent cell lines, we identify several new combination therapy targets for RAS-driven cancers. This article is highlighted in the In This Issue feature, p. 1775
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Lung cancer (LC) remains the leading cause of mortality from malignant tumors worldwide. In our previous study, we surveyed both IgG and IgM-bound serological biomarkers and validated a panel of IgG-bound autoantigens for early LC diagnosis with 50% sensitivity at 90% specificity. To further improve the performance of these serological biomarkers, we surveyed HuProt arrays, comprised of 20, 240 human proteins, for IgA-bound autoantigens since IgAs are a major immunoglobulin isotype in the lung. Integrating with IgG-bound autoantigens, we discovered and validated a combined biomarker panel using ELISA-format tests. Specifically, in Phase I, we obtained IgA-based autoimmune profiles of 69 early stage LC patients, 30 healthy subjects and 25 patients with lung benign lesions (LBL) on HuProt arrays, and identified 28 proteins as candidate autoantigens that were significantly associated with early stage LC. In Phase II, we re-purified the autoantigens and converted them into an ELISA-format testing to profile an additional large cohort, comprised of 136 early stage LC patients, 58 healthy individuals, and 29 LBL patients. Integration of IgG autoimmune profiles allowed us to identify and validate a biomarker panel of three IgA autoantigens (i.e., BCL7A, and TRIM33 and MTERF4) and three IgG autoantigens (i.e., CTAG1A, DDX4 and MAGEC2) for diagnosis of early stage LC with 73.5% sensitivity at >85% specificity. In Phase III, the performance of this biomarker panel was confirmed with an independent cohort, comprised of 88 early stage LC patients, 18 LBL patients, and 36 healthy subjects. Finally, a blind test on 178 serum samples was conducted to confirm the performance of the biomarker panel. In summary, this study demonstrates for the first time that an integrated panel of IgA/IgG autoantigens can serve as valuable biomarkers to further improve the performance of early diagnosis of LC.
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RAS GTPases are frequently mutated in human cancer. H- and NRAS isoforms are distributed over both plasma-membrane and endomembranes, including the Golgi complex, but how this organizational context contributes to cellular transformation is unknown. Here we show that RAS at the Golgi is selectively activated by apoptogenic stimuli and antagonizes cell survival by suppressing ERK activity through the induction of PTPRκ, which targets CRAF for dephosphorylation. Consistently, in contrast to what occurs at the plasma-membrane, RAS at the Golgi cannot induce melanoma in zebrafish. Inactivation of PTPRκ, which occurs frequently in human melanoma, often coincident with TP53 inactivation, accelerates RAS-ERK pathway-driven melanomagenesis in zebrafish. Likewise, tp53 disruption in zebrafish facilitates oncogenesis driven by RAS from the Golgi complex. Thus, RAS oncogenic potential is strictly dependent on its sublocalization, with Golgi complex-located RAS antagonizing tumor development.
Chapter
The failure of farnesyltransferase inhibitors to show antitumor activity against KRAS-mutant malignancies diminished enthusiasm for efforts to develop anti-Ras inhibitors for cancer treatment. However, two recent developments have rekindled interest in these endeavors. First, genome-wide exome sequencing verified that mutational activation of the KRAS gene is the most prevalent oncogene mutation in colorectal cancer (CRC). Second, a major step toward the application of personalized medicine for CRC was taken when mutant KRAS was established as a prognostic marker for resistance to epidermal growth factor receptor monoclonal antibody therapy. Thus, there is renewed and considerable interest in understanding the role of KRAS mutation in CRC progression and growth and in developing pharmacologic approaches for blocking aberrant K-Ras protein function for CRC treatment. Since the K-Ras protein itself is considered undruggable, current strategies to develop anti-K-Ras inhibitors have focused on antagonists of K-Ras downstream effector signaling. The frequent mutational activation of BRAF, which is mutually with KRAS activation, suggests that the encoded B-Raf serine/threonine kinase and activation of the ERK mitogen-activated protein kinase cascade is a key driver of mutant K-Ras-dependent CRC growth. In this review, we summarize the importance of mutant K-Ras and B-Raf in CRC growth and current efforts in targeting the Raf-MEK-ERK cascade for CRC treatment. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York. All rights are reserved.
Article
RAS GTPases (H-, K-, and N-RAS) are the most frequently mutated oncoprotein family in human cancer. However, the relatively smooth surface architecture of RAS and its picomolar affinity for nucleotide have given rise to the assumption that RAS is an "undruggable" target. Recent advancements in drug screening, molecular modeling, and a greater understanding of RAS function have led to a resurgence in efforts to pharmacologically target this challenging foe. This review focuses on the state of the art of RAS inhibition, the approaches taken to achieve this goal, and the challenges of translating these discoveries into viable therapeutics.
Article
Together H-, N- and KRAS mutations are major contributors to ~30% of all human cancers. Thus, Ras inhibition remains an important anti-cancer strategy. The molecular mechanisms of isotypic Ras oncogenesis are still not completely understood. Monopharmacological therapeutics have not been successful in the clinic. These disappointing outcomes have led to attempts to target elements downstream of Ras, mainly targeting either the Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinase (PI3K) or Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase (MAPK) pathways. While several such approaches are moderately effective, recent efforts have focused on preclinical evaluation of combination therapies to improve efficacies. This review will detail current understanding of the contributions of plasma membrane microdomain targeting of Ras to mitogenic and tumorigenic signaling and tumor progression. Moreover, this review will outline novel approaches to target Ras in cancers, including targeting schemes for new drug development, as well as putative re-purposing of drugs in current use to take advantage of blunting Ras signaling by interfering with Ras plasma membrane microdomain targeting and retention.
Chapter
Ras is the most frequently mutated oncogene in human malignancies (30{%}) and is associated most strongly with the development of neoplasms in which therapeutic approaches have met with limited success (e.g., lung, colon, and pancreatic cancers). Extensive experimental analyses in cell culture and animal models have established strong and compelling validation of a causal role for aberrant Ras function in tumor progression and maintenance. Consequently, there has been considerable interest in and effort towards the development of strategies to block Ras function for cancer treatment. Despite intensive investigation, no strategies have yet been devised that can selectively block oncogenic Ras function in cells or animals. In this review, we summarize the approaches that have been considered, why the problem is so difficult, and the current status of these efforts
Chapter
Tight control of signalling/transcriptional activity ensures that the correct balance between gene expression changes regulating the cell cycle, DNA repair, developmental potential and fate determination is maintained by different cells. Activation of the Wnt signalling pathway stimulates growth and mediates developmental and carcinogenic signalling between cells. In fact, a Wnt pathway mutation, such as loss of the adenomatous polyposis coli gene, is sufficient to give rise to a tumor that grows without limit. This suggests that the mutation, through ectopically activating the Wnt pathway, may also switch on associated pathways; Notch, Eph/ephrin, bone morphogenetic protein, Hedgehog and mitogen-activated protein kinase, as observed in the Apc Min/+ mouse model of intestinal carcinogenesis. Wnt signalling can also activate non-canonical, β-catenin-independent pathways, including activation of the c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK). JNK activation, which can occur via many types of cellular stress or extracellular signals, plays an essential role in organogenesis during mouse development by regulating cell proliferation, survival and apoptosis. JNK activation is also involved in messenger RNA stabilization, cell migration, cytoskeleton integrity and carcinogenesis. However, the links between the β-catenin and JNK pathways are poorly understood, and the identities of the downstream targets/effectors of Wnt/JNK remain largely unknown. Moreover, little is known about the effect of phosphorylation by JNK on the functions of the possible common targets between these two pathways. This chapter discusses the relations between the β-catenin and JNK pathways and their identifies component genes involved in carcinogenesis.
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The blebbishield emergency program helps to resurrect apoptotic cancer stem cells (CSCs) themselves. Understanding the mechanisms behind this program is essential to block resurrection of CSCs during cancer therapy. Here we demonstrate that endocytosis drives serpentine filopodia to construct blebbishields from apoptotic bodies and that a VEGF-VEGFR2-endocytosis-p70S6K axis governs subsequent transformation. Disengagement of RalGDS from E-cadherin initiates endocytosis of RalGDS and its novel interaction partners cdc42, VEGFR2, cleaved β-catenin, and PKC-ζ as well as its known interaction partner K-Ras. We also report novel interactions of p45S6K (cleaved p70S6K) and PKM-ζ with PAK-1 filopodia-forming machinery specifically in blebbishields. Thus, a RalGDS-endocytosis-filopodia-VEGFR2-K-Ras-p70S6K axis drives the blebbishield emergency program, and therapeutic targeting of this axis might prevent resurrection of CSCs during cancer therapy.
Article
Ras genes are frequently mutated in human cancers and present compelling targets for therapeutic intervention. While previous attempts to directly inhibit oncogenic Ras function have largely been unsuccessful use of targeted agents to inhibit the three primary oncogenic pathways activated by mutated Ras: RalGEF-Ral, PI3K-Akt and Raf- MEK-Erk, is an area of intense investigation. Here, we describe the ability of a novel pharmacological inhibitor of geranylgeranyltransferase I, GGTI-2417, to inhibit Ral prenylation and localization. We further used a Ral rescue system to selectively preserve RalA and RalB function and localization during GGTI-2417 treatment and determine the precise roles for inhibition of Ral prenylation in the GGTI anti-cancer response. Specifically, we determined inhibition of RalA is required for GGTI-attenuation of anchorage independent growth whereas inhibition of RalB is required for inhibition of proliferation, induction of apoptosis, suppression of survivin and induction of p27Kip1. We next determined the role of RalGEF-Ral signaling as well as PI3K-Akt and Raf-MEKErk signal transduction pathways in an in vitro model of human ovarian surface epithelial (T80 HOSE) cell Ras-dependent transformation. Using both small interfering RNA (siRNA) and pharmacological inhibitors of Ral, PI3K and MEK we determined that Ras signaling via Ral and PI3K but not MEK is required for ovarian oncogenesis. Furthermore, stable expression of Ras mutants unable to activate Raf-MEK-Erk signaling were able to robustly transform T80 cells. Since we had confirmed the importance of Ral proteins to human epithelial malignancies we next sought to explore the molecular interactions governing Ral transformation using a proteomics approach to rapidly identify proposed Ral interacting partners. Using immunoprecipition of transiently overexpressed FLAG-tagged RalA and RalB followed by 1D-gel separation and tandem MS/MS analysis we determined a database of proposed Ral interacting proteins. One of these, RACK1, is a validated RalA and RalB interacting protein which is at least partially required for Ras and Ral transformation. These results provide both a strong impetus and a solid basis for future studies into the mechanisms of RalA- and RalB- dependent transformation.
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The small GTPase Rit is a close relative of Ras, and constitutively active Rit can induce oncogenic transformation. Although the effector loops of Rit and Ras are highly related, Rit fails to interact with the majority of the known Ras candidate effector proteins, suggesting that novel cellular targets may be responsible for Rit transforming activity. To gain insight into the cellular function of Rit, we searched for Rit-binding proteins by yeast two-hybrid screening. We identified the C-terminal Rit/Ras interaction domain of a protein we have designated RGL3 (RalGEF-like 3) that shares 35% sequence identity with the known Ral guanine nucleotide exchange factors (RalGEFs). RGL3, through a C-terminal 99-amino acid domain, interacted in a GTP- and effector loop-dependent manner with Rit and Ras. Importantly, RGL3 exhibited guanine nucleotide exchange activity toward the small GTPase Ral that was stimulated in vivo by the expression of either activated Rit or Ras. These data suggest that RGL3 functions as an exchange factor for Ral and may serve as a downstream effector for both Rit and Ras.
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Several different oncogenes and growth factors promote G1 phase progression. Cyclin D1, the regulatory subunit of several cyclin-dependent kinases, is required for, and capable of shortening, the G1 phase of the cell cycle. The present study demonstrates that transforming mutants of p21 (Ras Val-12, Ras Leu-61) induce the cyclin D1 promoter in human trophoblasts (JEG-3), mink lung epithelial (Mv1.Lu), and in Chinese hamster ovary fibroblast cell lines. Site-directed mutagenesis of AP-1-like sequences at −954 abolished p21-dependent activation of cyclin D1 expression. The AP-1-like sequences were also required for activation of the cyclin D1 promoter by c-Jun. In electrophoretic mobility shift assays using nuclear extracts from cultured cells and primary tissues, several AP-1 proteins (c-Jun, JunB, JunD, and c-Fos) bound the cyclin D1 −954 region. Cyclin D1 promoter activity was stimulated by overexpression of mitogen-activated protein kinase (p41) or c-Ets-2 through the proximal 22 base pairs. Expression of plasmids encoding either dominant negative MAPK (p41) or dominant negatives of ETS activation (Ets-LacZ), antagonized MAPK-dependent induction of cyclin D1 promoter activity. Epidermal growth factor induction of cyclin D1 transcription, through the proximal promoter region, was antagonized by either p41 or Ets-LacZ, suggesting that ETS functions downstream of epidermal growth factor and MAPK in the context of the cyclin D1 promoter. The activation of cyclin D1 transcription by p21provides evidence for cross-talk between the p21 and cell cycle regulatory pathways.
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To model human papillomavirus-induced neoplastic progression, expression of the early region of human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV16) was targeted to the basal cells of the squamous epithelium in transgenic mice, using a human keratin 14 (K14) enhancer/promoter. Twenty-one transgenic founder mice were produced, and eight lines carrying either wild-type or mutant HPV16 early regions that did not express the E1 or E2 genes were established. As is characteristic of human cancers, the E6 and E7 genes remained intact in these mutants. The absence of E1 or E2 function did not influence the severity of the phenotype that eventually developed in the transgenic mice. Hyperplasia, papillomatosis, and dysplasia appeared at multiple epidermal and squamous mucosal sites, including ear and truncal skin, face, snout and eyelids, and anus. The ears were the most consistently affected site, with pathology being present in all lines with 100% penetrance. This phenotype also progressed through discernible stages. An initial mild hyperplasia was followed by hyperplasia, which further progressed to dysplasia and papillomatosis. During histopathological progression, there was an incremental increase in cellular DNA synthesis, determined by 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine incorporation, and a profound perturbation in keratinocyte terminal differentiation, as revealed by immunohistochemistry to K5, K14, and K10 and filaggrin. These K14-HPV16 transgenic mice present an opportunity to study the role of the HPV16 oncogenes in the neoplastic progression of squamous epithelium and provide a model with which to identify genetic and epigenetic factors necessary for carcinogenesis.
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Ral proteins (RalA and RalB) comprise a distinct family of Ras-related GTPases (Feig and Emkey, 1993). Recently, Ral-GDS, the exchange factor that activates Ral proteins, has been shown to bind specifically to the activated forms of RasH, R-Ras and Rap1A, in the yeast two-hybrid system. Here we demonstrate that although all three GTPases have the capacity to bind Ral-GDS in mammalian cells, only RasH activates Ral-GDS. Furthermore, although constitutively activated Ra1A does not induce oncogenic transformation on its own, its expression enhances the transforming activities of both RasH and Raf. Finally, a dominant inhibitory form of RalA suppresses the transforming activities of both RasH and Raf. These results demonstrate that activation of Ral-GDS and thus its target, Ral, constitutes a distinct downstream signaling pathway from RasH that potentiates oncogenic transformation.
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The small GTPase Rap 1A is a close relative of Ras that, when overexpressed, is able to revert oncogenic transformation induced by active Ras. We screened a mouse embryonic cDNA library using the yeast two-hybrid system and isolated the cDNA of a novel Rap 1A-interacting protein. The open reading frame encodes for an 84 kDa protein with a Cdc25-homology domain which shares approximately 30% identity with Ral guanine nucleotide dissociation stimulator (RalGDS) and RalGDS-like (Rg1). The C-terminal region reveals a striking conservation of sequences with the Ras-binding domain of RalGDS. We designated this protein Rlf, for RalGDS-like factor. In the yeast system, Rlf interacts with Rap 1A, H-Ras and R-Ras, but not with Rac and Rho. In addition, we found that Rlf interacts with Rap 1Aval12 but not with Rap 1AAsn17. In vitro binding studies revealed that a C-terminally located 91 amino acid region of Rlf is sufficient for direct association with the GTP-bound form of Ras and Rap 1A. The observed dissociation constants are 0.6 microM and 0.4 microM, respectively. No significant association with Ras-GDP or Rap 1A-GDP could be detected. These binding characteristics indicate that Rlf is a putative effector for Ras and Rap 1A.
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Ral GDP dissociation stimulator-like (RGL) has been identified to be a possible effector protein of Ras. RGL shares 50% amino acid identity with Ral GDP dissociation stimulator and contains the CDC25-like domain in the central region and the Ras-interacting domain in the C-terminal region. Since the modes of activation and action of RGL have not yet been clarified, in this paper we have analyzed the functions of RGL. In COS cells, RGL interacted with RasG12V/E37G (a Ras mutant in which Gly-12 and Glu-37 were changed to Val and Gly, respectively) which failed to bind to Raf, but not with RasG12V/T35S which bound to Raf. Raf did not inhibit the binding of RGL to RasG12V/E37G under the condition that Raf inhibited that of RGL to RasG12V. Expression of either RGL or Raf into NIH3T3 cells slightly activated c-fos promoter, while coexpression of both proteins greatly stimulated the c-fos promoter activity. RGL stimulated the GDP/GTP exchange of Ral and this action was enhanced by the post-translational modification of Ral. However, RGL was not active on Ras, Rac, CDC42, Rap, or Rho. Furthermore, this action of RGL to stimulate the GDP/GTP exchange of Ral was dependent on Ras in COS cells. These results suggest that RGL constitutes another Ras-signaling pathway which is distinct from the Raf pathway and indicate that the RGL pathway regulates the c-fos promoter activity and the GDP/GTP exchange of Ral.
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A novel oncogene, rsc (rabbit squamous cell carcinoma), has been identified from a DMBA-induced rabbit squamous cell carcinoma using gene transfer and the nude mouse tumorigenesis assay. A full-length cDNA has been isolated and sequenced. rsc has potent tumorigenic activity in nude mice (latency <4 weeks), but does not induce focus formation or anchorage independent growth. The oncogene resulted from the fusion of rHR 23A (a rabbit homologue of yeast Rad 23) with a member of the ral-GDS family which we named rgr (ral-GDS related). Deletion analysis demonstrated that the oncogenic potential resides in the Rgr portion of the gene. Rgr is 40% identical overall to Ral-GDS, with identity increasing to 72% over a 100 amino acid region of the catalytic domain. Biochemical experiments indicate that Rgr has GTP/GDP exchange activity for Ral, providing evidence that this pathway is associated with tumorigenesis. The linkage between the Ral pathway and tumorigenesis by a molecule in the Ral-GDS gene family (Ral-GDS being a known effector for Ras) will open the way for the characterization of this pathway and provide an important tool to understand its biological function.
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Tyrosine kinase growth factor receptors and Ras/Raf/MEK/MAPK signalling have been implicated in the suppression as well as augmentation of programmed cell death. In addition, a Ras-independent role for Raf as a suppressor of programmed cell death has been suggested by the recent finding that Craf1 interacts with members of the Bcl-2 family at mitochondrial membranes. However, genetic studies of C. elegans and Drosophila, as well as the targeted mutagenesis of the murine Araf gene, have failed to support such a role. Here we show that mice with a targeted disruption in the Braf gene die of vascular defects during mid-gestation. Braf -/- embryos, unlike Araf -/- or Craf1 -/- embryos (L.W. et al., unpublished), show an increased number of endothelial precursor cells, dramatically enlarged blood vessels and apoptotic death of differentiated endothelial cells. These results establish Braf as a critical signalling factor in the formation of the vascular system and provide the first genetic evidence for an essential role of Raf gene in the regulation of programmed cell death.
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Rlf is a ubiquitously expressed distinct relative of RalGDS that interacts with active Ras in vitro. We now demonstrate that Rlf, when co-expressed with Ras mutants, associates in vivo with RasV12 and the effector-domain mutant RasV12G37, but not with RasV12E38 or RasV12C40. Rlf exhibits guanine nucleotide exchange activity towards the small GTPase Ral and, importantly, Rlf-induced Ral activation is stimulated by active Ras. In addition, RasV12 and RasV12G37 synergize with Rlf in the transcriptional activation of the c-fos promoter. Rlf, when targeted to the plasma membrane using the Ras farnesyl attachment site (Rlf-CAAX), is constitutively active, inducing both Ral activation and c-fos promoter activity. Rlf-CAAX-induced gene expression is insensitive to dominant negative Ras and the MEK inhibitor PD98059, and involves activation of the serum response element. Furthermore, expression of Rlf-CAAX is sufficient to induce proliferation of NIH 3T3 cells under low-serum conditions. These data demonstrate that Rlf is an effector of Ras which functions as an exchange factor for Ral. Rlf mediates a distinct Ras-induced signalling pathway to gene induction. Finally, a constitutively active form of Rlf can stimulate transcriptional activation and cell growth.
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Ral is a ubiquitously expressed Ras-like small GTPase which is abundantly present in human platelets. The biological function of Ral and the signaling pathway in which Ral is involved are largely unknown. Here we describe a novel method to measure Ral activation utilizing the Ral binding domain of the putative Ral effector RLIP76 as an activation-specific probe. With this assay we investigated the signaling pathway that leads to Ral activation in human platelets. We found that Ral is rapidly activated after stimulation with various platelet agonists, including α-thrombin. In contrast, the platelet antagonist prostaglandin I 2 inhibited α-thrombin-induced Ral activation. Activation of Ral by α-thrombin could be inhibited by depletion of intracellular Ca 2+ , whereas the induction of intracellular Ca 2+ resulted in the activation of Ral. Our results show that Ral can be activated by extracellular stimuli. Furthermore, we show that increased levels of intracellular Ca 2+ are sufficient for Ral activation in platelets. This activation mechanism correlates with the activation mechanism of the small GTPase Rap1, a putative upstream regulator of Ral guanine nucleotide exchange factors.
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Cyclin D1 is part of a cell cycle control node consistently deregulated in most human cancers. However, studies with cyclin D1-null mice indicate that it is dispensable for normal mouse development as well as cell growth in culture. Here, we provide evidence that ras-mediated tumorigenesis depends on signaling pathways that act preferentially through cyclin D1. Cyclin D1 expression and the activity of its associated kinase are up-regulated in keratinocytes in response to oncogenic ras. Furthermore, cyclin D1 deficiency results in up to an 80% decrease in the development of squamous tumors generated through either grafting of retroviral ras-transduced keratinocytes, phorbol ester treatment of ras transgenic mice, or two-stage carcinogenesis.
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Ras proteins can activate at least three classes of downstream target proteins: Raf kinases, phosphatidylinositol-3 phosphate (PI3) kinase, and Ral-specific guanine nucleotide exchange factors (Ral-GEFs). In NIH 3T3 cells, activated Ral-GEFs contribute to Ras-induced cell proliferation and oncogenic transformation by complementing the activities of Raf and PI3 kinases. In PC12 cells, activated Raf and PI3 kinases mediate Ras-induced cell cycle arrest and differentiation into a neuronal phenotype. Here, we show that in PC12 cells, Ral-GEF activity acts opposite to other Ras effectors. Elevation of Ral-GEF activity induced by transfection of a mutant Ras protein that preferentially activates Ral-GEFs, or by transfection of the catalytic domain of the Ral-GEF Rgr, suppressed cell cycle arrest and neurite outgrowth induced by nerve growth factor (NGF) treatment. In addition, Rgr reduced neurite outgrowth induced by a mutant Ras protein that preferentially activates Raf kinases. Furthermore, inhibition of Ral-GEF activity by expression of a dominant negative Ral mutant accelerated cell cycle arrest and enhanced neurite outgrowth in response to NGF treatment. Ral-GEF activity may function, at least in part, through inhibition of the Rho family GTPases, CDC42 and Rac. In contrast to Ras, which was activated for hours by NGF treatment, Ral was activated for only approximately 20 min. These findings suggest that one function of Ral-GEF signaling induced by NGF is to delay the onset of cell cycle arrest and neurite outgrowth induced by other Ras effectors. They also demonstrate that Ras has the potential to promote both antidifferentiation and prodifferentiation signaling pathways through activation of distinct effector proteins. Thus, in some cell types the ratio of activities among Ras effectors and their temporal regulation may be important determinants for cell fate decisions between proliferation and differentiation.
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The phosphatidylinositol-3-OH-kinase (PI(3)K) effector protein kinase B regulates certain insulin-responsive genes, but the transcription factors regulated by protein kinase B have yet to be identified. Genetic analysis in Caenorhabditis elegans has shown that the Forkhead transcription factor daf-16 is regulated by a pathway consisting of insulin-receptor-like daf-2 and PI(3)K-like age-1. Here we show that protein kinase B phosphorylates AFX, a human orthologue of daf-16, both in vitro and in vivo. Inhibition of endogenous PI(3)K and protein kinase B activity prevents protein kinase B-dependent phosphorylation of AFX and reveals residual protein kinase B-independent phosphorylation that requires Ras signalling towards the Ral GTPase. In addition, phosphorylation of AFX by protein kinase B inhibits its transcriptional activity. Together, these results delineate a pathway for PI(3)K-dependent signalling to the nucleus.
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The Ral GTPase is activated by RalGDS, which is one of the effector proteins for Ras. Previous studies have suggested that Ral might function to regulate the cytoskeleton; however, its in vivo function is unknown. We have identified a Drosophila homologue of Ral that is widely expressed during embryogenesis and imaginal disc development. Two mutant Drosophila Ral (DRal) proteins, DRal(G20V) and DRal(S25N), were generated and analyzed for nucleotide binding and GTPase activity. The biochemical analyses demonstrated that DRal(G20V) and DRal(S25N) act as constitutively active and dominant negative mutants, respectively. Overexpression of the wild-type DRal did not cause any visible phenotype, whereas DRal(G20V) and DRal(S25N) mutants caused defects in the development of various tissues including the cuticular surface, which is covered by parallel arrays of polarized structures such as hairs and sensory bristles. The dominant negative DRal protein caused defects in the development of hairs and bristles. These phenotypes were genetically suppressed by loss of function mutations of hemipterous and basket, encoding Drosophila Jun NH(2)-terminal kinase kinase (JNKK) and Jun NH(2)-terminal kinase (JNK), respectively. Expression of the constitutively active DRal protein caused defects in the process of dorsal closure during embryogenesis and inhibited the phosphorylation of JNK in cultured S2 cells. These results indicate that DRal regulates developmental cell shape changes through the JNK pathway.
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Our previous studies have demonstrated that the level of the central transcription factor TATA-binding protein (TBP) is increased in cells expressing the hepatitis B virus (HBV) X protein through the activation of the Ras signaling pathway, which serves to enhance both RNA polymerase I and III promoter activities. To understand the mechanism by which TBP is regulated, we have investigated whether enhanced expression is modulated at the transcriptional level. Nuclear run-on assays revealed that the HBV X protein increases the number of active transcription complexes on the TBP gene. In transient-transfection assays with both transformed and primary hepatocytes, the human TBP promoter was shown to be induced by expression of the HBV X protein in a Ras-dependent manner, requiring both Ral guanine nucleotide dissociation stimulator (RalGDS) and Raf signaling. Transient overexpression of TBP did not affect TBP promoter activity. To further delineate the downstream Ras-mediated events contributing to TBP promoter regulation in primary rat hepatocytes, the best-characterized Ras effectors, Raf, phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI-3 kinase), and RalGDS, were examined. Activation of either Raf or RalGDS, but not that of PI-3 kinase, was sufficient to induce TBP promoter activity. Both Raf- and RalGDS-mediated induction required the activation of mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (MEK). In addition, another distinct Ras-activated pathway, which does not require MEK activation, appears to induce TBP promoter activity. Analysis of the DNA sequence requirement within the TBP promoter responsible for these regulatory events defined three distinct regions that modulate the abilities of Raf, RalGDS, and the Ras-dependent, MEK-independent pathways to regulate human TBP promoter activity. Together, these results provide new evidence that TBP can be regulated at the transcriptional level and identify three distinct Ras-activated pathways that modulate this central eukaryotic transcription factor.
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The small GTPase Rit is a close relative of Ras, and constitutively active Rit can induce oncogenic transformation. Although the effector loops of Rit and Ras are highly related, Rit fails to interact with the majority of the known Ras candidate effector proteins, suggesting that novel cellular targets may be responsible for Rit transforming activity. To gain insight into the cellular function of Rit, we searched for Rit-binding proteins by yeast two-hybrid screening. We identified the C-terminal Rit/Ras interaction domain of a protein we have designated RGL3 (Ral GEF-like 3) that shares 35% sequence identity with the known Ral guanine nucleotide exchange factors (RalGEFs). RGL3, through a C-terminal 99-amino acid domain, interacted in a GTP- and effector loop-dependent manner with Rit and Ras. Importantly, RGL3 exhibited guanine nucleotide exchange activity toward the small GTPase Ral that was stimulated in vivo by the expression of either activated Rit or Ras. These data suggest that RGL3 functions as an exchange factor for Ral and may serve as a downstream effector for both Rit and Ras.
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Ral is a ubiquitously expressed Ras-like small GTPase. Several guanine nucleotide exchange factors for Ral have been identified, including members of the RalGDS family, which exhibit a Ras binding domain and are regulated by binding to RasGTP. Here we describe a novel type of RalGEF, RalGEF2. This guanine nucleotide exchange factor has a characteristic Cdc25-like catalytic domain at the N terminus and a pleckstrin homology (PH) domain at the C terminus. RalGEF2 is able to activate Ral both in vivo and in vitro. Deletion of the PH domain results in an increased cytoplasmic localization of the protein and a corresponding reduction in activity in vivo, suggesting that the PH domain functions as a membrane anchor necessary for optimal activity in vivo.
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The transcription factor c-Jun is critically involved in the regulation of proliferation and differentiation as well as cellular transformation induced by oncogenic Ras. The signal transduction pathways that couple Ras activation to c-Jun phosphorylation are still partially elusive. Here we show that an activated version of the Ras effector Rlf, a guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF) of the small GTPase Ral, can induce the phosphorylation of serines 63 and 73 of c-Jun. In addition, we show that growth factor-induced, Ras-mediated phosphorylation of c-Jun is abolished by inhibitory mutants of the RalGEF-Ral pathway. These results suggest that the RalGEF-Ral pathway plays a major role in Ras-dependent c-Jun phosphorylation. Ral-dependent regulation of c-Jun phosphorylation includes JNK, a still elusive JNKK, and possibly Src.
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TC21 is a member of the Ras superfamily of small GTP-binding proteins that, like Ras, has been implicated in the regulation of growth-stimulating pathways. We have previously identified the Raf/mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway as a direct TC21 effector pathway required for TC21-induced transformation (M. Rosário, H. F. Paterson, and C. J. Marshall, EMBO J. 18:1270-1279, 1999). In this study we have identified two further effector pathways for TC21, which contribute to TC21-stimulated transformation: the phosphatidylinositol 3' kinase (PI-3K) and Ral signaling pathways. Expression of constitutively active TC21 leads to the activation of Ral A and the PI-3K-dependent activation of Akt/protein kinase B. Strong activation of the PI-3K/Akt pathway is seen even with very low levels of TC21 expression, suggesting that TC21 may be a key small GTPase-regulator of PI-3K. TC21-induced alterations in cellular morphology in NIH 3T3 and PC12 cells are also PI-3K dependent. On the other hand, activation of the Ral pathway by TC21 is required for TC21-stimulated DNA synthesis but not transformed morphology. We show that inhibition of Ral signaling blocks DNA synthesis in human tumor cell lines containing activating mutations in TC21, demonstrating for the first time that this pathway is required for the proliferation of human tumor cells. Finally, we provide mechanisms for the activation of these pathways, namely, the direct in vivo interaction of TC21 with guanine nucleotide exchange factors for Ral, resulting in their translocation to the plasma membrane, and the direct interaction of TC21 with PI-3K. In both cases, the effector domain region of TC21 is required since point mutations in this region can interfere with activation of downstream signaling.
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Previous studies have shown that c-Jun NH(2)-terminal kinase (JNK) belongs to the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) family of signal transduction components that are rapidly initiated and activated by many extracellular stimuli. However, the potential role of JNK in mediating tumor promotion and carcinogenesis is unclear. We show here that in JNK2-deficient (Jnk2(-/-)) mice, the multiplicity of papillomas induced by 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA) was lower than that in wild-type mice. Papillomas on wild-type mice grew rapidly and were well vascularized compared with Jnk2(-/-) mice. After the 12th week of TPA treatment, the mean number of tumors per mouse was 4.13-4.86 in wild-type mice but only 1.13-2.5 in Jnk2(-/-) mice. TPA induced phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinases and activator protein-1 DNA binding activity in wild-type mice, but the phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinases and activator protein-1 DNA binding were inhibited in Jnk2(-/-) mice. These data suggest that JNK2 is critical in the tumor promotion process.
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Ral is a small GTPase involved in critical cellular signaling pathways. The two isoforms, RalA and RalB, are widely distributed in different tissues, with RalA being enriched in brain. The best characterized RalA signaling pathways involve RalBP1 and phospholipase D. To investigate RalA signaling in neuronal cells we searched for RalA-binding proteins in brain. We found at least eight proteins that bound RalA in a GTP-dependent manner. Matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) identified these as the components of the exocyst complex. The yeast exocyst is a regulator of polarized secretion, docking vesicles to regions of the plasma membrane involved in active exocytosis. We identified the human FLJ10893 protein as the mammalian homologue of the yeast exocyst protein Sec3p. The exocyst complex did not contain the previously identified exocyst component rSec15, but a new homologue of both yeast Sec15p and rSec15, called KIAA0919. Western blots confirmed that two rat exocyst proteins, rSec6 and rSec8, bound active RalA in nerve terminals, as did RalBP1. Phospholipase D bound RalA in a nucleotide-independent manner. This places the RalA signaling system in mammalian nerve terminals, where the exocyst may act as an effector for activated RalA in directing sites of exocytosis.
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Approximately 50% of metastatic tumors contain Ras mutations. Ras proteins can activate at least three downstream signaling cascades mediated by the Raf-MEK-extracellular signal-regulated kinase family, phosphatidylinositol-3 (PI3) kinase, and Ral-specific guanine nucleotide exchange factors (RalGEFs). Here we investigated the contribution of RalGEF and ERK activation to the development of experimental metastasis in vivo and associated invasive properties in vitro. Each pathway contributes distinct properties to the metastatic phenotype. Following lateral tail vein injection, 3T3 cells transformed by constitutively active Raf or MEK produced lung metastasis that displayed circumscribed, noninfiltrating borders. In contrast, 3T3 cells transformed by Ras(12V,37G), a Ras effector mutant that activates RalGEF but not Raf or P13 kinase, formed aggressive, infiltrative metastasis. Dominant negative RalB inhibited Ras(12V,37G)-activated invasion and metastasis, demonstrating the necessity of the RalGEF pathway for a fully transformed phenotype. Moreover, 3T3 cells constitutively expressing a membrane-associated form of RalGEF (RalGDS-CAAX) formed invasive tumors as well, demonstrating that activation of a RalGEF pathway is sufficient to initiate the invasive phenotype. Despite the fact that Ras(12V,37G) expression does not elevate ERK activity, inhibition of this kinase by a conditionally expressed ERK phosphatase demonstrated that ERK activity was necessary for Ras(12V,37G)-transformed cells to express matrix-degrading activity in vitro and tissue invasiveness in vivo. Therefore, these experiments have revealed a hitherto-unknown but essential interaction of the RalGEF and ERK pathways to produce a malignant phenotype. The generality of the role of the RalGEF pathway in metastasis is supported by the finding that Ras(12V,37G) increased the invasiveness of epithelial cells as well as fibroblasts.
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Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) is a stress-activated protein kinase that can be induced by inflammatory cytokines, bacterial endotoxin, osmotic shock, UV radiation, and hypoxia. We report the identification of an anthrapyrazolone series with significant inhibition of JNK1, -2, and -3 (K(i) = 0.19 microM). SP600125 is a reversible ATP-competitive inhibitor with >20-fold selectivity vs. a range of kinases and enzymes tested. In cells, SP600125 dose dependently inhibited the phosphorylation of c-Jun, the expression of inflammatory genes COX-2, IL-2, IFN-gamma, TNF-alpha, and prevented the activation and differentiation of primary human CD4 cell cultures. In animal studies, SP600125 blocked (bacterial) lipopolysaccharide-induced expression of tumor necrosis factor-alpha and inhibited anti-CD3-induced apoptosis of CD4(+) CD8(+) thymocytes. Our study supports targeting JNK as an important strategy in inflammatory disease, apoptotic cell death, and cancer.
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Delivery of cytoplasmic vesicles to discrete plasma-membrane domains is critical for establishing and maintaining cell polarity, neurite differentiation and regulated exocytosis. The exocyst is a multisubunit complex required for vectorial targeting of a subset of secretory vesicles. Mechanisms that regulate the activity of this complex in mammals are unknown. Here we show that Sec5, an integral component of the exocyst, is a direct target for activated Ral GTPases. Ral GTPases regulate targeting of basolateral proteins in epithelial cells, secretagogue-dependent exocytosis in neuroendocrine cells and assembly of exocyst complexes. These observations define Ral GTPases as critical regulators of vesicle trafficking.
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Small GTPases of the Ras family are major players of signal transduction in eukaryotic cells. They receive signals from a number of receptors and transmit them to a variety of effectors. The distribution of signals to different effector molecules allows for the generation of opposing effects like proliferation and differentiation. To understand the specificity of Ras signaling, we investigated the activation of RalGDS, one of the Ras effector proteins with guanine-nucleotide exchange factor activity for Ral. We determined the GTP level on RalA and showed that the highly conserved Ras binding domain (RBD) of RalGDS, which mediates association with Ras, is important but not sufficient to explain the stimulation of the exchange factor. Although a point mutation in the RBD of RalGDS, which abrogates binding to Ras, renders RalGDS independent to activated Ras, an artificially membrane-targeted version of RalGDS lacking its RBD could still be activated by Ras. The switch II region of Ras is involved in the activation, because the mutant Y64W in this region is impaired in the RalGDS activation. Furthermore, it is shown that Rap1, which was originally identified as a Ras antagonist, can block Ras-mediated RalGDS signaling only when RalGDS contains an intact RBD. In addition, kinetic studies of the complex formation between RalGDS-RBD and Ras suggest that the fast association between RalGDS and Ras, which is analogous to the Ras/Raf case, achieves signaling specificity. Conversely, the Ras x RalGDS complex has a short lifetime of 0.1 s and Rap1 forms a long-lived complex with RalGDS, possibly explaining its antagonistic effect on Ras.
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Cancers arise owing to the accumulation of mutations in critical genes that alter normal programmes of cell proliferation, differentiation and death. As the first stage of a systematic genome-wide screen for these genes, we have prioritized for analysis signalling pathways in which at least one gene is mutated in human cancer. The RAS RAF MEK ERK MAP kinase pathway mediates cellular responses to growth signals. RAS is mutated to an oncogenic form in about 15% of human cancer. The three RAF genes code for cytoplasmic serine/threonine kinases that are regulated by binding RAS. Here we report BRAF somatic missense mutations in 66% of malignant melanomas and at lower frequency in a wide range of human cancers. All mutations are within the kinase domain, with a single substitution (V599E) accounting for 80%. Mutated BRAF proteins have elevated kinase activity and are transforming in NIH3T3 cells. Furthermore, RAS function is not required for the growth of cancer cell lines with the V599E mutation. As BRAF is a serine/threonine kinase that is commonly activated by somatic point mutation in human cancer, it may provide new therapeutic opportunities in malignant melanoma.
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The c-Jun NH(2)-terminal kinase (JNK) is implicated in the apoptotic response of cells exposed to stress, but the JNK signal transduction pathway may not act exclusively in apoptosis. In some studies of tumor cells, JNK has been implicated in signaling cell survival. The possibility that JNK might mediate a survival signal in tumor cells is consistent with the observation that it is activated in response to some oncogenes, such as the leukemogenic oncogene BCR-ABL, which is created by a reciprocal translocation between human chromosomes 9 and 22 (ref. 2). The BCR-ABL protein activates the JNK signaling pathway in hematopoietic cells and increases transcriptional activity mediated by the transcription factor AP1 (ref. 3). Also, inhibition of c-Jun or JNK prevents BCR-ABL-induced cell transformation in vitro. Although this implicates the JNK signaling pathway in transformation by BCR-ABL, the possible role of JNK in this process is unclear. We find that disruption of the JNK ortholog Mapk8 (also known as Jnk1) in mice causes defective transformation of pre-B cells by BCR-ABL in vitro and in vivo. The Jnk1 protein is required for the survival of the transformed cells in the absence of stromal support. Failure to survive is associated with decreased expression of Bcl2, and the effect of Jnk1 deficiency can be rescued by transgenic expression of Bcl2. Our results show that Jnk1 signals cell survival in transformed B lymphoblasts and suggest that it may contribute to the pathogenesis of some proliferative diseases.
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The spectrum of tumors associated with oncogenic Ras in humans often differs from those in mice either treated with carcinogens or engineered to sporadically express oncogenic Ras, suggesting that the mechanism of Ras transformation may be different in humans. Ras stimulates primarily three main classes of effector proteins, Rafs, PI3-kinase, and RalGEFs, with Raf generally being the most potent at transforming murine cells. Using oncogenic Ras mutants that activate single effectors as well as constitutively active effectors, we find that the RalGEF, and not the Raf or PI3-kinase pathway, is sufficient for Ras transformation in human cells. Thus, oncogenic Ras may transform murine and human cells by distinct mechanisms, and the RalGEF pathway--previously deemed to play a secondary role in Ras transformation--could represent a new target for anti-cancer therapy.
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Ras proteins mediate biological responses through various effectors and play a key role in relaying the Fibroblast Growth Factor (FGF) mesoderm induction signal during embryogenesis of the frog, Xenopus laevis. One Ras effector pathway involves the activation of the small G protein Ral. In the present study, we have investigated the role of key components in the Ral branch of FGF and Ras signalling during early Xenopus development. Treatment of animal caps with bFGF, which converts prospective ectoderm to mesoderm, activates Xral. The Ras mutant 12V37G, which can bind to Ral-GDS but not Raf, also activates Xral as well as causing developmental defects and cortical F-actin disassembly. A similar phenotype is induced by Ral-GDS itself. FGF-induced expression of several signature mesodermal genes, by contrast, is independent of Xral signalling. This and other data suggest that the RalB branch of Ras and FGF signalling regulates the actin cytoskeleton and morphogenesis in a transcriptionally independent manner. We also find Xral to be specifically activated in the marginal zone of Xenopus embryos, and find that disruption of the Ral pathway in this region prevents closure of the blastopore during gastrulation. We conclude that Ral signalling is autonomously required by mesodermal cells to effect essential morphogenetic changes during Xenopus gastrulation.
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Activating mutations in the ras oncogene are not considered sufficient to induce abnormal cellular proliferation in the absence of cooperating oncogenes. We demonstrate that the conditional expression of an endogenous K-ras(G12D) allele in murine embryonic fibroblasts causes enhanced proliferation and partial transformation in the absence of further genetic abnormalities. Interestingly, K-ras(G12D)-expressing fibroblasts demonstrate attenuation and altered regulation of canonical Ras effector signaling pathways. Widespread expression of endogenous K-ras(G12D) is not tolerated during embryonic development, and directed expression in the lung and GI tract induces preneoplastic epithelial hyperplasias. Our results suggest that endogenous oncogenic ras is sufficient to initiate transformation by stimulating proliferation, while further genetic lesions may be necessary for progression to frank malignancy.
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Cellular proto-oncogenes can be activated by both point mutations and chromosomal translocations, suggesting that there may be a direct link between exposure to agents which damage DNA and genetic change leading to malignancy. Several groups have therefore analysed mutations found in cellular oncogenes of tumours induced by particular physical or chemical carcinogens. Here, we have analysed the molecular changes at different stages of carcinogenesis in mouse skin tumours induced by initiating and promoting agents. Over 90% of tumours, including premalignant papillomas, initiated with dimethylbenzanthracene (DMBA) have a specific A----T transversion at the second nucleotide of codon 61 of the Harvey-ras (Ha-ras) gene. The frequency of this mutation was dependent on the initiating agent used, but not on the promoter, suggesting that the mutation occurs at the time of initiation. The mutation was heterozygous in most papillomas tested, but was homozygous or amplified in some carcinomas. The development of further chromosomal changes at the c-Ha-ras gene locus is therefore a common feature of tumour progression.
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An early response to the tyrosine kinase activity of v-Src is an increase in phospholipase D (PLD) activity, which leads to the generation of biologically active lipid second messengers, including phosphatidic acid, lysophosphatidic acid and diacylglycerol. We have recently demonstrated that v-Src-induced PLD activity is mediated by Ras, although Ras involvement was indirect, requiring a cytosolic factor for PLD activation. Ras interacts with and activates Ral-GDS, the exchange factor responsible for the activation of Ral GTPases. Here we report that this newly identified Ras/Ral signalling pathway mediates PLD activation by v-Src. PLD activity could be precipitated from v-Src-transformed cell lysates with immobilized RalA protein and with an anti-Ral antibody. A mutation to the region of RalA analogous to the 'effector domain' of Ras did not reduce the ability of RalA to complex with PLD, although deletion of a Ral-specific amino-terminal region did. Overexpression of RalA potentiated PLD activation by v-Src, and expression of dominant negative RalA mutants inhibited both v-Src- and v-Ras-induced PLD activity. Thus RalA is involved in the tyrosine kinase activation of PLD through its unique N terminus, and that PLD is a downstream target of a Ras/Ral GTPase cascade.
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We have developed a generalized approach, using two hybrid interactions, to isolate Ha-Ras effector loop mutations that separate the ability of Ha-Ras to interact with different downstream effectors. These mutations attenuate or eliminate Ha-ras(G12V) transformation of mammalian cells, but retain complementary activity, as demonstrated by synergistic induction of foci of growth-transformed cells, and by the ability to activate different downstream components. The transformation defect of Ha-ras(G12V, E37G) is rescued by a mutant, raf1, that restores interaction. These results indicate that multiple cellular components, including Raf1, are activated by Ha-Ras and contribute to Ha-Ras-induced mammalian cell transformation.
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ras-related GTPases participate in signaling for a variety of cellular processes. The GTPases cycle between a GTP-bound active state and a GDP-bound inactive state. This cycling is partially controlled by guanine nucleotide dissociation stimulators (GDS, also known as exchange factors). We report on the molecular cloning of cDNAs encoding a new mammalian GDS protein, using sequences derived from the yeast ras GDS proteins as probes. The encoded protein stimulates the dissociation of guanine nucleotides from the ras-related ralA and ralB GTPases at a rate at least 30-fold faster than the intrinsic nucleotide dissociation rate. This new GDS, ralGDS, is at least 20-fold more active on the ralA and ralB GTPases than on any other GTPase tested, including other members of the ras family (H-ras, N-ras, K-ras, R-ras, rap1a and rap2), members of the rho family (rhoA, rhoB and CDC42-Hs) and members of the rab family (rab3a and ypt1). While the ralGDS protein is phosphorylated on serine residues, we find no evidence that phosphorylation affects the activity of insect cell-expressed ralGDS towards the ralA or ralB GTPase. The 3600 nucleotide ralGDS mRNA and the 115 kDa protein were found in all tissues and cell lines examined.
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The widespread use of FVB/N mice for the establishment of transgenic lines containing active oncogenes suggested the importance of testing the parent FVB/N mice for sensitivity to experimental carcinogenesis. After initiation of mouse skin by a single treatment with 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA) and promotion by 20 weekly applications of 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA), the skin tumor incidence was compared in FVB/N mice, TPA-sensitive (SENCAR and CD-1) and TPA-resistant mice (BALB/c and C57BL/6). Initiation by 25 micrograms DMBA followed by promotion with a low dose of TPA (2 micrograms/week) induced one or more papillomas in only 25% of FVB/N mice, compared with 100% in SENCAR, 53% in CD-1, 17% in BALB/c and 0% in C57BL/6 mice. At a more effective dose of TPA (5 micrograms/week), FVB/N mice initiated by 5, 25 or 100 micrograms DMBA developed 3.4, 6.9 and 11.8 papillomas per mouse. In contrast, the incidence of squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) (17-18/30 mice) did not increase with DMBA dose. TPA promotion of non-initiated mice induced only six papillomas, but three progressed to SCCs, a high rate of malignant conversion. Skin tumor induction by 20 weekly treatments with 10 micrograms DMBA produced few papillomas, but 50.0% of the papillomas progressed to carcinomas in FVB/N mice, compared with 9.15% in SENCAR, 37.5% in CD-1, 23.1% in BALB/c and 15.0% in C57CL/6 mice. The first carcinomas appeared after 14 weeks in FVB/N, 24 weeks in SENCAR, 26 weeks in CD-1 and C57BL/6 and 34 weeks in BALB/c mice. Thus, FVB/N mice develop an unusually high incidence of SCCs after treatment with repeated DMBA, DMBA initiation-TPA promotion and even TPA alone.
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We have employed high-resolution SDS polyacrylamide gels to demonstrate that there are two major low-molecular-weight GTP-binding proteins associated with axonal membranes including synaptic vesicles, rapid transported membranes and clathrin-coated vesicles. We demonstrate that one of the major proteins is Ral and that the other is Rab3A. Following the depolarization of synaptosomes resulting in increased neurotransmitter release, we see no significant dissociation of either Ral or Rab3a from synaptic vesicle derived membranes in contrast to results reported previously.