[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are critical regulators of gene expression, and exert extensive impacts on development, physiology, and disease of eukaryotes. A high degree of parallelism is found in the molecular basis of miRNA biogenesis and action in plants and animals. Recent studies interestingly suggest a potential cross-kingdom action of plant-derived miRNAs, through dietary intake, in regulating mammalian gene expression. Although the source and scope of plant miRNAs detected in mammalian specimens remain controversial, these initial studies inspired us to determine whether plant miRNAs can be detected in Western human sera and whether these plant miRNAs are able to influence gene expression and cellular processes related to human diseases such as cancer. Here we found that Western donor sera contained the plant miRNA miR159, whose abundance in the serum was inversely correlated with breast cancer incidence and progression in patients. In human sera, miR159 was predominantly detected in the extracellular vesicles, and was resistant to sodium periodate oxidation suggesting the plant-originated 2'-O-methylation on the 3' terminal ribose. In breast cancer cells but not non-cancerous mammary epithelial cells, a synthetic mimic of miR159 was capable of inhibiting proliferation by targeting TCF7 that encodes a Wnt signaling transcription factor, leading to a decrease in MYC protein levels. Oral administration of miR159 mimic significantly suppressed the growth of xenograft breast tumors in mice. These results demonstrate for the first time that a plant miRNA can inhibit cancer growth in mammals.Cell Research advance online publication 22 January 2016; doi:10.1038/cr.2016.13.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: COH29, a novel antimetabolite drug developed at City of Hope Cancer Center, has anticancer activity that stems primarily from the inhibition of human ribonucleotide reductase (RNR). This key enzyme in deoxyribonucleotide biosynthesis is the target of established clinical agents such as hydroxyurea (HU) and gemcitabine because of its critical role in DNA replication and repair. Herein we report that BRCA-1-defective human breast cancer cells are more sensitive than wild-type BRCA-1 counterparts to COH29 in vitro and in vivo. Microarray gene expression profiling showed that COH29 reduces expression of DNA repair pathway genes, suggesting that COH29 interferes with these pathways. It is well-established that BRCA1 plays a role in DNA damage repair, especially homologous recombination (HR) repair, to maintain genome integrity. In BRCA1-defective HCC1937 breast cancer cells, COH29 induced more double-strand breaks (DSB) and DNA-damage response (DDR) than in HCC1937+BRCA1 cells. By EJ5- and DR-GFP reporter assay, we found COH29 could inhibit NHEJ efficiency and that no HR activity was detected in HCC1937 cells, suggesting the repression of the NHEJ repair pathway may be involved in COH29-induced DSB in BRCA1-deficient HCC1937 cells. Furthermore, we observed accumulation of nuclear Rad51 foci in COH29-treated HCC1937+BRCA1 cells, suggesting BRCA1 plays a crucial role in repairing/recovering drug-induced DNA damage by recruiting Rad51 to damage sites. In summary, we have described additional biological effects of the RNR inhibitor COH29 that potentially strengthen its utility as an anticancer agent.
The American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.
Full-text · Article · Mar 2015 · Molecular pharmacology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: MicroRNA-21 is dysregulated in many cancers and fibrotic diseases. Since miR-21 suppresses several tumor suppressor and anti-apoptotic genes, it is considered a cancer therapeutic target. Antisense oligonucleotides are commonly used to inhibit a miRNA; however, blocking miRNA function via an antagomir is temporary, often only achieves a partial knock-down, and may be complicated by off-target effects. Here, we used transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs) to disrupt miR-21 in cancerous cells. Individual deletion clones were screened and isolated without drug selection. Sequencing and quantitative RT-PCR identified clones with no miR-21 expression. The loss of miR-21 led to subtle but global increases of mRNAs containing miR-21 target sequences. Cells without miR-21 became more sensitive to cisplatin and less transformed in culture and in mouse xenografts. In addition to the increase of PDCD4 and PTEN protein, mRNAs for COL4A1, JAG1, SERPINB5/Maspin, SMAD7, and TGFBI - all are miR-21 targets and involved in TGFβ and fibrosis regulation - were significantly upregulated in miR-21 knockout cells. Gene ontology and pathway analysis suggested that cell-environment interactions involving extracellular matrix can be an important miR-21 pathogenic mechanism. The study also demonstrates the value of using TALEN-mediated microRNA gene disruption in human pathobiological studies.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cancer-secreted microRNAs (miRNAs) are emerging mediators of cancer-host crosstalk. Here we show that miR-105, which is characteristically expressed and secreted by metastatic breast cancer cells, is a potent regulator of migration through targeting the tight junction protein ZO-1. In endothelial monolayers, exosome-mediated transfer of cancer-secreted miR-105 efficiently destroys tight junctions and the integrity of these natural barriers against metastasis. Overexpression of miR-105 in nonmetastatic cancer cells induces metastasis and vascular permeability in distant organs, whereas inhibition of miR-105 in highly metastatic tumors alleviates these effects. miR-105 can be detected in the circulation at the premetastatic stage, and its levels in the blood and tumor are associated with ZO-1 expression and metastatic progression in early-stage breast cancer.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ribonucleotide reductase (RNR) is an attractive target for anticancer agents given its central function in DNA synthesis, growth, metastasis and drug resistance of cancer cells. Current RNR inhibitors have shortcomings of short halflife, drug resistance and iron chelation. Here we report the development of a novel class of effective RNR inhibitors addressing these issues. A novel ligand-binding pocket on the RNR small subunit (RRM2) near the C-terminal tail was proposed by computer modeling and verified by site-directed mutagenesis and NMR techniques. A compound targeting this pocket was identified by virtual screening of the NCI diverse small molecule database. By lead optimization we developed the novel RNR inhibitor COH29 which acted as a potent inhibitor of recombinant and cellular human RNR enzymes. COH29 overcame hydroxyurea and gemcitabine resistance in cancer cells. It effectively inhibited proliferation of most cell lines in the NCI 60 human cancer panel, most notably ovarian cancer and leukemia, but exerted little effect on normal fibroblasts or endothelial cells. In mouse xenograft models of human cancer, COH29 treatment reduced tumor growth compared to vehicle. Site-directed mutagenesis, NMR and surface plasmon resonance biosensor studies confirmed COH29 binding to the proposed ligand-binding pocket, and offered evidence that for assembly blockade of the RRM1-RRM2 quaternary structure. Our findings offer preclinical validation of COH29 as a promising new class of RNR inhibitors with a new mechanism of inhibition, with broad potential for improved treatment of human cancer.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Liver cancer is the third leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide but no effective treatment toward liver cancer is available so far. Therefore, there is an unmet medical need to identify novel therapies to efficiently treat liver cancer and improve the prognosis of this disease. Here we report that berbamine (BBM) and one of its derivatives, bbd24, potently suppressed liver cancer cell proliferation and induced cancer cell death by targeting Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CAMKII). Furthermore, BBM inhibited the in vivo tumorigenicity of liver cancer cells in NOD/SCID mice, and down-regulated the self-renewal abilities of liver cancer initiating cells. Chemical inhibition or short hairpin RNAs-mediated knockdown of CAMKII recapitulated the effects of BBM, while overexpression of CAMKII promoted cancer cell proliferation and increased the resistance of liver cancer cells to BBM treatments. Western blot analyses of human liver cancer specimens showed that CAMKII was hyperphosphorylated in liver tumors compared with the paired peri-tumor tissues, which supports a role of CAMKII in promoting human liver cancer progression and the potential clinical use of BBM for liver cancer therapies. Our data suggests that BBM and its derivatives are promising agents to suppress liver cancer growth by targeting CAMKII.
Full-text · Article · Aug 2013 · Molecular Cancer Therapeutics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: STAT3 and Akt signaling have been validated as potential molecular targets for treatment of cancers including melanoma. These small molecule inhibitors of STAT3 or Akt signaling are promising for developing anti-melanoma therapeutic agents. MLS-2438, a novel 7-bromoindirubin, a derivative of the natural product indirubin, was synthesized with a bromo-group at the 7-position on one indole ring and a hydrophilic group at the 3'-position on the other indole ring. We tested the anticancer activity of MLS-2438 and investigated its mechanism of action in human melanoma cell lines. Here, we show that MLS-2438 inhibits viability and induces apoptosis of human melanoma cells associated with inhibition of STAT3 and Akt signaling. Several pro-apoptotic Bcl-2 family proteins are involved in the MLS-2438 mediated apoptosis. MLS-2438 inhibits Src kinase activity in vitro and phosphorylation of JAK2, Src, STAT3 and Akt in cultured cancer cells. In contrast to the decreased phosphorylation levels of JAK2, Src, STAT3 and Akt, phosphorylation levels of the MAPK (Erk1/2) signaling protein were not reduced in cells treated with MLS-2438. These results demonstrate that MLS-2438, a novel natural product derivative, is a Src inhibitor and potentially regulates kinase activity of JAK2 and Akt in cancer cells. Importantly, MLS-2438 suppressed tumor growth with low toxicity in a mouse xenograft model of human melanoma. Our findings support further development of MLS-2438 as a potential small-molecule therapeutic agent that targets both STAT3 and Akt signaling in human melanoma cells.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2012 · Cancer biology & therapy
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pyrrole-imidazole (Py-Im) polyamides are programmable, sequence-specific DNA minor groove-binding ligands. Previous work in cell culture has shown that various polyamides can be used to modulate the transcriptional programs of oncogenic transcription factors. In this study, two hairpin polyamides with demonstrated activity against androgen receptor signaling in cell culture were administered to mice to characterize their pharmacokinetic properties.
Py-Im polyamides were administered intravenously by tail vein injection. Plasma, urine, and fecal samples were collected over a 24-h period. Liver, kidney, and lung samples were collected postmortem. Concentrations of the administered polyamide in the plasma, excretion, and tissue samples were measured using LC/MS/MS. The biodistribution data were analyzed by both non-compartmental and compartmental pharmacokinetic models. Animal toxicity experiments were also performed by monitoring weight loss after a single subcutaneous (SC) injection of either polyamide.
The biodistribution profiles of both compounds exhibited rapid localization to the liver, kidneys, and lungs upon injection. Plasma distribution of the two compounds showed distinct differences in the rate of clearance, the volume of distribution, and the AUCs. These two compounds also have markedly different toxicities after SC injection in mice.
The variations in pharmacokinetics and toxicity in vivo stem from a minor chemical modification that is also correlated with differing potency in cell culture. The results obtained in this study could provide a structural basis for further improvement of polyamide activity both in cell culture and in animal models.
Full-text · Article · Aug 2012 · Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Liver tumor, especially hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), is closely associated with chronic inflammation. We previously showed that farnesoid X receptor knockout (FXR(-)(/)(-)) mice displayed chronic inflammation and developed spontaneous liver tumors when they aged. However, the mechanism by which inflammation leads to HCC in the absence of FXR is unclear. Because IFNγ is one of the most upregulated pro-inflammatory cytokines in FXR(-)(/)(-) livers, we generated IFNγ(-)(/)(-)FXR(-)(/)(-) double knockout mice to determine IFNγ's roles in hepatocarcinogenesis.
IFNγ(-)(/)(-) mice were crossed with an FXR(-)(/)(-) C57BL/6 background or injected i.p. with the hepatocarcinogen diethylnitrosamine (DEN). Hepatocarcinogenesis was analyzed with biochemical and histological methods.
IFNγ deletion accelerated spontaneous hepatocarcinogenesis in FXR(-)(/)(-) mice and increased the susceptibility to DEN-induced hepatocarcinogenesis. IFNγ deletion enhanced activation of HCC promoters STAT3 and JNK/c-Jun, but abolished induction of p53 in IFNγ(-)(/)(-) livers after acute DEN-induced injury. Furthermore, hepatic p53 expression increased in aged wild type mice but not in aged IFNγ(-)(/)(-) and IFNγ(-)(/)(-)FXR(-)(/)(-) mice, while activation of STAT3 and JNK/c-Jun was enhanced in aged IFNγ(-)(/)(-) and IFNγ(-)(/)(-)FXR(-)(/)(-) mice. In addition, IFNγ inhibited liver cancer xenograft growth and impaired IL-6-induced STAT3 phosphorylation by inducing SOCS1/3 expression.
Increased IFNγ expression in FXR(-)(/)(-) livers represents a protective response of the liver against chronic injury and tumorigenesis. IFNγ suppresses hepatocarcinogenesis by inducing p53 expression and preventing STAT3 activation.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2012 · Journal of Hepatology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Persistent Jak/Stat3 signal transduction plays a crucial role in tumorigenesis and immune development. Activated Jak/Stat3 signaling has been validated as a promising molecular target for cancer therapeutics discovery and development. Berbamine (BBM), a natural bis-benzylisoquinoline alkaloid, was identified from the traditional Chinese herbal medicine Berberis amurensis used for treatment of cancer patients. While BBM has been shown to have potent antitumor activities with low toxicity in various cancer types, the molecular mechanism of action of BBM remains largely unknown. Here, we determine the antitumor activities of 13 synthetic berbamine derivatives (BBMDs) against human solid tumor cells. BBMD3, which is the most potent in this series of novel BBMDs, exhibits over 6-fold increase in biological activity compared to natural BBM. Moreover, BBMD3, directly inhibits Jak2 autophosphorylation kinase activity in vitro with IC(50)0.69μM. Autophosphorylation of Jak2 kinase at Tyr1007/1008 sites also was strongly inhibited in the range of 15μM of BBMD3 in human melanoma cells at 4h after treatment. Following inhibition of autophosphorylation of Jak2, BBMD3 blocked constitutive activation of downstream Stat3 signaling in melanoma cells. BBMD3 also down-regulated expression of the Stat3 target proteins Mcl-1and Bcl-x(L), associated with induction of apoptosis. In sum, our findings demonstrate that the novel berbamine derivative BBMD3 is an inhibitor of the Jak2/Stat3 signaling pathway, providing evidence for a molecular mechanism whereby BBMD3 exerts at least in part the apoptosis of human melanoma cells. In addition, BBMD3 represents a promising lead compound for development of new therapeutics for cancer treatment.
No preview · Article · Jun 2012 · Molecular oncology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mutations in genes involved in DNA replication, such as flap endonuclease 1 (FEN1), can cause single-stranded DNA breaks (SSBs) and subsequent collapse of DNA replication forks leading to DNA replication stresses. Persistent replication stresses normally induce p53-mediated senescence or apoptosis to prevent tumour progression. It is unclear how some mutant cells can overcome persistent replication stresses and bypass the p53-mediated pathways to develop malignancy. Here we show that polyploidy, which is often observed in human cancers, leads to overexpression of BRCA1, p19arf and other DNA repair genes in FEN1 mutant cells. This overexpression triggers SSB repair and non-homologous end-joining pathways to increase DNA repair activity, but at the cost of frequent chromosomal translocations. Meanwhile, DNA methylation silences p53 target genes to bypass the p53-mediated senescence and apoptosis. These molecular changes rewire DNA damage response and repair gene networks in polyploid tumour cells, enabling them to escape replication stress-induced senescence barriers.
Full-text · Article · May 2012 · Nature Communications
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neuroblastoma is the most common extracranial solid tumor in the pediatric population. Sorafenib (Nexavar), a multikinase inhibitor, blocks cell proliferation and induces apoptosis in certain types of cancers. Here, we tested antitumor effects of sorafenib (≤ 10 µM) on four human neuroblastoma cell lines, CHLA255, CHLA171, CHLA90 and SK-N-AS. Sorafenib inhibited cell proliferation and induced apoptosis of neuroblastoma tumor cells in a dose-dependent manner. Sorafenib inhibited phosphorylation of Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription 3 (STAT3) proteins at Tyr705 in these cells, associated with inhibition of phosphorylated JAK2, an upstream kinase that mediates STAT3 phosphorylation. Expression of a constitutively-activated STAT3 mutant (pSTAT3-C) partially blocked the antitumor effects of sorafenib on neuroblastoma cells. Sorafenib also inhibited the phosphorylation of STAT3 induced by IL-6 and sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P), a recently identified regulator for STAT3, in these tumor cells. Moreover, sorafenib downregulated phosphorylation of MAPK (p44/42) in neuroblastoma cells, consistent with inhibition of their upstream regulators MEK1/2. Sorafenib inhibited expression of cyclin E, cyclin D1/D2/D3, key regulators for cell cycle, and the antiapoptotic proteins Mcl-1 and survivin. Finally, sorafenib suppressed the growth of human neuroblastoma cells in a mouse xenograft model. Taken together, these findings suggest the potential use of sorafenib for the treatment of pediatric neuroblastomas.
Preview · Article · May 2012 · Cancer biology & therapy
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cancer stem cells (CSC) play critical roles in cancer initiation, progression, and therapeutic refractoriness. Although many studies have focused on the genes and pathways involved in stemness, characterization of the factors in the tumor microenvironment that regulate CSCs is lacking. In this study, we investigated the effects of stromal fibroblasts on breast cancer stem cells. We found that compared with normal fibroblasts, primary cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAF) and fibroblasts activated by cocultured breast cancer cells produce higher levels of chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 2 (CCL2), which stimulates the stem cell-specific, sphere-forming phenotype in breast cancer cells and CSC self-renewal. Increased CCL2 expression in activated fibroblasts required STAT3 activation by diverse breast cancer-secreted cytokines, and in turn, induced NOTCH1 expression and the CSC features in breast cancer cells, constituting a cancer-stroma-cancer signaling circuit. In a xenograft model of paired fibroblasts and breast cancer tumor cells, loss of CCL2 significantly inhibited tumorigenesis and NOTCH1 expression. In addition, upregulation of both NOTCH1 and CCL2 was associated with poor differentiation in primary breast cancers, further supporting the observation that NOTCH1 is regulated by CCL2. Our findings therefore suggest that CCL2 represents a potential therapeutic target that can block the cancer-host communication that prompts CSC-mediated disease progression.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: STAT3 is persistently activated and contributes to malignant progression in various cancers. Janus activated kinases (JAK) phosphorylate STAT3 in response to stimulation by cytokines or growth factors. The STAT3 signaling pathway has been validated as a promising target for development of anticancer therapeutics. Small-molecule inhibitors of JAK/STAT3 signaling represent potential molecular-targeted cancer therapeutic agents. In this study, we investigated the role of JAK/STAT3 signaling in 6-bromoindirubin-3'-oxime (6BIO)-mediated growth inhibition of human melanoma cells and assessed 6BIO as a potential anticancer drug candidate. We found that 6BIO is a pan-JAK inhibitor that induces apoptosis of human melanoma cells. 6BIO directly inhibited JAK-family kinase activity, both in vitro and in cancer cells. Apoptosis of human melanoma cells induced by 6BIO was associated with reduced phosphorylation of JAKs and STAT3 in both dose- and time-dependent manners. Consistent with inhibition of STAT3 signaling, expression of the antiapoptotic protein Mcl-1 was downregulated. In contrast to the decreased levels of phosphorylation of JAKs and STAT3, phosphorylation levels of the Akt and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling proteins were not inhibited in cells treated with 6BIO. Importantly, 6BIO suppressed tumor growth in vivo with low toxicity in a mouse xenograft model of melanoma. Taken together, these results show that 6BIO is a novel pan-JAK inhibitor that can selectively inhibit STAT3 signaling and induces tumor cell apoptosis. Our findings support further development of 6BIO as a potential anticancer therapeutic agent that targets JAK/STAT3 signaling in tumor cells.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: MK-0457 and MK-5108 are novel aurora kinase inhibitors (AKi) leading to G(2)-M cell-cycle arrest. Growth and survival of multiple lymphoma cell lines were studied with either drug alone or in combination with vorinostat, a histone deacetylase inhibitor (HDACi), using MTS and Annexin V assays, followed by molecular studies. Either of the AKi alone at 100 to 500 nmol/L resulted in approximately 50% reduced cell growth and 10% to 40% apoptosis. Addition of vorinostat reactivated proapoptotic genes and enhanced lymphoma cell death. Quantitative PCR and immunoblotting revealed that epigenetic and protein acetylation mechanisms were responsible for this activity. The prosurvival genes Bcl-X(L) and hTERT were downregulated 5-fold by combination drug treatment, whereas the proapoptotic BAD and BID genes were upregulated 3-fold. The p53 tumor suppressor was stabilized by an increased acetylation in response to vorinostat and a reduced Ser315 phosphorylation in response to aurora kinase A. Vorinostat or trichostatin A decreased MYC mRNA and protein as well as c-Myc-regulated microRNAs. MYC is a critical gene in these responses, as MYC knockdown combined with the expression of the c-Myc antagonist MXD1 raised cell sensitivity to the effects of either AKi. Thus, the HDACi vorinostat leads to both transcriptional and posttranscriptional changes to create a proapoptotic milieu, sensitizing cells to mitosis-specific agents such as AKis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ribonucleotide reductase subunit RRM2B (p53R2) has been reported to suppress invasion and metastasis in colorectal cancer (CRC). Here, we report that high levels of RRM2B expression are correlated with markedly better survival in CRC patients. In a fluorescence-labeled orthotopic mouse xenograft model, we confirmed that overexpression of RRM2B in nonmetastatic CRC cells prevented lung and/or liver metastasis, relative to control cells that did metastasize. Clinical outcome studies were conducted on a training set with 103 CRCs and a validation set with 220 CRCs. All participants underwent surgery with periodic follow-up to determine survivability. A newly developed specific RRM2B antibody was employed to carry out immunohistochemistry for determining RRM2B expression levels on tissue arrays. In the training set, the Kaplan-Meier and multivariate Cox analysis revealed that RRM2B is associated with better survival of CRCs, especially in stage IV patients (HR = 0.40; 95% CI = 0.18-0.86, P = 0.016). In the validation set, RRM2B was negatively related to tumor invasion (OR = 0.45, 95% CI = 0.19-0.99, P = 0.040) and lymph node involvement (OR = 0.48, 95% CI = 0.25-0.92, P = 0.026). Furthermore, elevated expression of RRM2B was associated with better prognosis in this set as determined by multivariate analyses (HR = 0.48, 95% CI = 0.26-0.91, P = 0.030). Further investigations revealed that RRM2B was correlated with better survival of CRCs with advanced stage III and IV tumors rather than earlier stage I and II tumors. Taken together, our findings establish that RRM2B suppresses invasiveness of cancer cells and that its expression is associated with a better survival prognosis for CRC patients.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: DNA replication and repair are critical processes for all living organisms to ensure faithful duplication and transmission of genetic information. Flap endonuclease 1 (Fen1), a structure-specific nuclease, plays an important role in multiple DNA metabolic pathways and maintenance of genome stability. Human FEN1 mutations that impair its exonuclease activity have been linked to cancer development. FEN1 interacts with multiple proteins, including proliferation cell nuclear antigen (PCNA), to form various functional complexes. Interactions with these proteins are considered to be the key molecular mechanisms mediating FEN1's key biological functions. The current challenge is to experimentally demonstrate the biological consequence of a specific interaction without compromising other functions of a desired protein. To address this issue, we established a mutant mouse model harboring a FEN1 point mutation (F343A/F344A, FFAA), which specifically abolishes the FEN1/PCNA interaction. We show that the FFAA mutation causes defects in RNA primer removal and long-patch base excision repair, even in the heterozygous state, resulting in numerous DNA breaks. These breaks activate the G2/M checkpoint protein, Chk1, and induce near-tetraploid aneuploidy, commonly observed in human cancer, consequently elevating the transformation frequency. Consistent with this, inhibition of aneuploidy formation by a Chk1 inhibitor significantly suppressed the cellular transformation. WT/FFAA FEN1 mutant mice develop aneuploidy-associated cancer at a high frequency. Thus, this study establishes an exemplary case for investigating the biological significance of protein-protein interactions by knock-in of a point mutation rather than knock-out of a whole gene.