Now showing 1 - 10 of 10
  • Publication
    SARAH Domain-mediated MST2-RASSF Dimeric Interactions
    We model the conformational changes and protein-protein interactions of enzymes involved in signaling along the Hippo pathwaya key molecular mechanism that controls the process of programmed cell death in eukaryotic cells, including cells affected by cancer. Combining modern computational modeling techniques with experimental information from X-ray crystallography and systems biology studies, can unveil detailed molecular interactions and lead to novel drugs. Here, we study the atomistic mechanisms and interactions between MST2 and RASSF-type kinases, through their respective SARAH domains highly conserved, long, terminal α-helices, which play essential roles in the activation of MST kinases and, therefore, in modulating apoptosis. In spite of their key roles in mediating cell signaling pathways, there is little structural information available for the RASSF SARAH domains and their dimerization with the MST2 SARAH domains. In particular, the RASSF1A crystal structure is not available yet. Here, we model, refine and validate atomistic structural models of dimers of the RASSF1A and MST2 SARAH domains, studying the interaction and the dynamic behavior of these molecular complexes using homology modeling, docking and full atomistic molecular dynamics simulations. Experimentally, we validate our approach by designing a novel peptide that can disrupt effectively MST2 homo and hetero SARAH dimers.
      359Scopus© Citations 14
  • Publication
    Autophosphorylation on S614 inhibits the activity and the transforming potential of BRAF
    The BRAF proto-oncogene serine/threonine-protein kinase, known as BRAF, belongs to the RAF kinase family. It regulates the MAPK/ERK signalling pathway affecting several cellular processes such as growth, survival, differentiation, and cellular transformation. BRAF is mutated in ~8% of all human cancers with the V600E mutation constituting ~90% of mutations. Here, we have used quantitative mass spectrometry to map and compare phosphorylation site patterns between BRAF and BRAF V600E. We identified sites that are shared as well as several quantitative differences in phosphorylation abundance. The highest difference is phosphorylation of S614 in the activation loop which is ~5fold enhanced in BRAF V600E. Mutation of S614 increases the kinase activity of both BRAF and BRAF V600E and the transforming ability of BRAF V600E. The phosphorylation of S614 is mitogen inducible and the result of autophosphorylation. These data suggest that phosphorylation at this site is inhibitory, and part of the physiological shut-down mechanism of BRAF signalling.
    Scopus© Citations 5  418
  • Publication
    Proteasomal down-regulation of the proapoptotic MST2 pathway contributes to BRAF inhibitor resistance in melanoma
    The RAS-RAF-MEK-ERK pathway is hyperactivated in most malignant melanomas, and mutations in BRAF or NRAS account for most of these cases. BRAF inhibitors (BRAFi) are highly efficient for treating patients with BRAFV600E mutations, but tumours frequently acquire resistance within a few months. Multiple resistance mechanisms have been identified, due to mutations or network adaptations that revive ERK signalling. We have previously shown that RAF proteins inhibit the MST2 proapoptotic pathway in a kinase-independent fashion. Here, we have investigated the role of the MST2 pathway in mediating resistance to BRAFi. We show that the BRAFV600E mutant protein, but not the wild-type BRAF protein, binds to MST2 inhibiting its proapoptotic signalling. Down-regulation of MST2 reduces BRAFi-induced apoptosis. In BRAFi-resistant cell lines, MST2 pathway proteins are down-regulated by ubiquitination and subsequent proteasomal degradation rendering cells refractory to MST2 pathway–induced apoptosis. Restoration of apoptosis can be achieved by increasing MST2 pathway protein expression using proteasome inhibitors. In summary, we show that the MST2 pathway plays a role in the acquisition of BRAFi resistance in melanoma.
      25Scopus© Citations 2
  • Publication
    Proapoptotic Kinase MST2 Coordinates Signaling Crosstalk between RASSF1A, Raf-1, and Akt
    (American Association for Cancer Research, 2010-01-19) ; ; ;
    Mammalian MST kinases function in stress-induced apoptosis to limit tumor progression. However, there is limited understanding about MST2 control by key regulators of cell division and survival. Raf-1 binds and inhibits MST2 kinase, whereas dissociation from Raf-1 and binding to tumor suppressor protein RASSF1A activates MST2. Akt phosphorylates MST2 in response to mitogens, oncogenic Ras, or depletion of tumor suppressor phosphatase and tensin homologue deleted on chromosome 10. We identified T117 and T384 as Akt phosphorylation sites in MST2. Mutation of these sites inhibited MST2 binding to Raf-1 kinase but enhanced binding to tumor suppressor RASSF1A, accentuating downstream c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling and promoting apoptosis. We determined that MST2 phosphorylation by Akt limits MST2 activity in two ways: first, by blocking its binding to RASSF1A and by promoting its association into the Raf-1 inhibitory complex, and second, by preventing homodimerization of MST2, which is needed for its activation. Dissociation of the Raf-1–MST2 complex promoted mitogenic signaling and coordinately licensed apoptotic risk. Using Ras effector domain mutants, we found that Akt is essential to prevent MST2 activation after mitogenic stimulation. Our findings elucidate how MST2 serves as a hub to integrate biological outputs of the Raf-1 and Akt pathways. Cancer Res; 70(3); 1195–203
      751Scopus© Citations 90
  • Publication
    The Differential Effects of Wild-Type and Mutated K-Ras on MST2 Signaling Are Determined by K-Ras Activation Kinetics
    (American Society for Microbiology, 2013-03-04) ; ; ;
    K-Ras is frequently mutated in human cancers. Mutant (mt) K-Ras can stimulate both oncogenic transformation and apoptosis through activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) and AKT pathways and the MST2 pathway, respectively. The biological outcome is determined by the balance and cross talk between these pathways. In colorectal cancer (CRC), a K-Ras mutation is negatively correlated with MST2 expression, as mt K-Ras can induce apoptosis by activating the MST2 pathway. However, wild-type (wt) K-Ras can prevent the activation of the MST2 pathway upon growth factor stimulation and enable transformation by mt K-Ras in CRC cells that express MST2. Here we have investigated the mechanism by which wt and mt K-Ras differentially regulate the MST2 pathway and MST2-dependent apoptosis. The ability of K-Ras to activate MST2 and MST2-dependent apoptosis is determined by the differential activation kinetics of mt K-Ras and wt K-Ras. Chronic activation of K-Ras by mutation or overexpression of Ras exchange factors results in the activation of MST2 and LATS1, increased MST2-LATS1 complex formation, and apoptosis. In contrast, transient K-Ras activation upon epidermal growth factor (EGF) stimulation prevents the formation of the MST2-LATS1 complex in an AKT-dependent manner. Our data suggest that the close relationship between Ras prosurvival and proapoptotic signaling is coordinated via the differential regulation of the MST2-LATS1 interaction by transient and chronic stimuli.
      351Scopus© Citations 28
  • Publication
    Mutant K-Ras Activation of the Proapoptotic MST2 Pathway Is Antagonized by Wild-Type K-Ras
    K-Ras mutations are frequent in colorectal cancer (CRC), albeit K-Ras is the only Ras isoform that can elicit apoptosis. Here, we show that mutant K-Ras directly binds to the tumor suppressor RASSF1A to activate the apoptotic MST2-LATS1 pathway. In this pathway LATS1 binds to and sequesters the ubiquitin ligase Mdm2 causing stabilization of the tumor suppressor p53 and apoptosis. However, mutant Ras also stimulates autocrine activation of the EGF receptor (EGFR) which counteracts mutant K-Ras-induced apoptosis. Interestingly, this protection requires the wild-type K-Ras allele, which inhibits the MST2 pathway in part via AKT activation. Confirming the pathophysiological relevance of the molecular findings, we find a negative correlation between K-Ras mutation and MST2 expression in human CRC patients and CRC mouse models. The small number of tumors with co-expression of mutant K-Ras and MST2 has elevated apoptosis rates. Thus, in CRC, mutant K-Ras transformation is supported by the wild-type allele.
      652Scopus© Citations 112
  • Publication
    Eukaryotic Translation Initiation Factor 3, Subunit a, Regulates the Extracellular Signal-Regulated Kinase Pathway
    (American Society for Microbiology, 2011-10-24) ; ; ;
    The extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) pathway participates in the control of numerous cellular processes, including cell proliferation. Since its activation kinetics are critical for to its biological effects, they are tightly regulated. We report that the protein translation factor, eukaryotic translation initiation factor 3, subunit a (eIF3a), binds to SHC and Raf-1, two components of the ERK pathway. The interaction of eIF3a with Raf-1 is increased by β-arrestin2 expression and transiently decreased by epidermal growth factor (EGF) stimulation in a concentration-dependent manner. The EGF-induced decrease in Raf-1–eIF3a association kinetically correlates with the time course of ERK activation. eIF3a interferes with Raf-1 activation and eIF3a downregulation by small interfering RNA enhances ERK activation, early gene expression, DNA synthesis, expression of neuronal differentiation markers in PC12 cells, and Ras-induced focus formation in NIH 3T3 cells. Thus, eIF3a is a negative modulator of ERK pathway activation and its biological effects.
      404Scopus© Citations 31
  • Publication
    The secret life of kinases: functions beyond catalysis
    (Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.), 2011) ; ; ;
    Protein phosphorylation participates in the regulation of all fundamental biological processes, and protein kinases have been intensively studied. However, while the focus was on catalytic activities, accumulating evidence suggests that non-catalytic properties of protein kinases are essential, and in some cases even sufficient for their functions. These non-catalytic functions include the scaffolding of protein complexes, the competition for protein interactions, allosteric effects on other enzymes, subcellular targeting, and DNA binding. This rich repertoire often is used to coordinate phosphorylation events and enhance the specificity of substrate phosphorylation, but also can adopt functions that do not rely on kinase activity. Here, we discuss such kinase independent functions of protein and lipid kinases focussing on kinases that play a role in the regulation of cell proliferation, differentiation, apoptosis, and motility.
      426Scopus© Citations 143
  • Publication
    Competing to coordinate cell fate decisions: the MST2-Raf-1 signaling device
    How do biochemical signaling pathways generate biological specificity? This question is fundamental to modern biology, and its enigma has been accentuated by the discovery that most proteins in signaling networks serve multifunctional roles. An answer to this question may lie in analyzing network properties rather than individual traits of proteins in order to elucidate design principles of biochemical networks that enable biological decision-making. We discuss how this is achieved in the MST2/Hippo-Raf-1 signaling network with the help of mathematical modeling and model-based analysis, which showed that competing protein interactions with affinities controlled by dynamic protein modifications can function as Boolean computing devices that determine cell fate decisions. In addition, we discuss areas of interest for future research and highlight how systems approaches would be of benefit
      312Scopus© Citations 23
  • Publication
    Mitogen-Inducible Gene-6 Mediates Feedback Inhibition from Mutated BRAF towards the Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor and Thereby Limits Malignant Transformation
    BRAF functions in the RAS-extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) signaling cascade. Activation of this pathway is necessary to mediate the transforming potential of oncogenic BRAF, however, it may also cause a negative feedback that inhibits the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). Mitogen-inducible gene-6 (MIG-6) is a potent inhibitor of the EGFR and has been demonstrated to function as a tumor suppressor. As MIG-6 can be induced via RAS-ERK signaling, we investigated its potential involvement in this negative regulatory loop. Focus formation assays were performed and demonstrated that MIG-6 significantly reduces malignant transformation induced by oncogenic BRAF. Although this genetic interaction was mirrored by a physical interaction between MIG-6 and BRAF, we did not observe a direct regulation of BRAF kinase activity by MIG-6. Interestingly, a selective chemical EGFR inhibitor suppressed transformation to a similar degree as MIG-6, whereas combining these approaches had no synergistic effect. By analyzing a range of BRAF mutated and wildtype cell line models, we could show that BRAF V600E causes a strong upregulation of MIG-6, which was mediated at the transcriptional level via the RAS-ERK pathway and resulted in downregulation of EGFR activation. This feedback loop is operational in tumors, as shown by the analysis of almost 400 patients with papillary thyroid cancer (PTC). Presence of BRAF V600E correlated with increased MIG-6 expression on the one hand, and with inactivation of the EGFR and of PI3K/AKT signaling on the other hand. Importantly, we also observed a more aggressive disease phenotype when BRAF V600E coexisted with low MIG-6 expression. Finally, analysis of methylation data was performed and revealed that higher methylation of MIG-6 correlated to its decreased expression. Taken together, we demonstrate that MIG-6 efficiently reduces cellular transformation driven by oncogenic BRAF by orchestrating a negative feedback circuit directed towards the EGFR.
      273Scopus© Citations 7