American Association for Cancer Research
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sFigure 1 from KRAS Oncoprotein Expression Is Regulated by a Self-Governing eIF5A-PEAK1 Feed-Forward Regulatory Loop

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-03-31, 02:28 authored by Ken Fujimura, Huawei Wang, Felicia Watson, Richard L. Klemke

Schematic showing hypusination of lysine 50 of eIF5A






There remains intense interest in tractable approaches to target or silence the KRAS oncoprotein as a rational therapeutic strategy to attack pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) and other cancers that overexpress it. Here we provide evidence that accumulation of the KRAS oncoprotein is controlled by a self-regulating feed-forward regulatory loop that utilizes a unique hypusinated isoform of the translation elongation factor eIF5A and the tyrosine kinase PEAK1. Oncogenic activation of KRAS increased eIF5A–PEAK1 translational signaling, which in turn facilitated increased KRAS protein synthesis. Mechanistic investigations show that this feed-forward positive regulatory pathway was controlled by oncogenic KRAS-driven metabolic demands, operated independently of canonical mTOR signaling, and did not involve new KRAS gene transcription. Perturbing eIF5A–PEAK1 signaling, by genetic or pharmacologic strategies or by blocking glutamine synthesis, was sufficient to inhibit expression of KRAS, eIF5A, and PEAK1, to attenuate cancer cell growth and migration, and to block tumor formation in established preclinical mouse models of PDAC. Levels of KRAS, eIF5A, and PEAK1 protein increased during cancer progression with the highest levels of expression observed in metastatic cell populations. Combinatorial targeting of eIF5A hypusination and the RAS–ERK signaling pathway cooperated to attenuate KRAS expression and its downstream signaling along with cell growth in vitro and tumor formation in vivo. Collectively, our findings highlight a new mechanistic strategy to attenuate KRAS expression as a therapeutic strategy to target PDAC and other human cancers driven by KRAS activation.Significance: These findings highlight a new mechanistic strategy to attenuate KRAS expression as a therapeutic strategy to target human cancers driven by KRAS activation. Cancer Res; 78(6); 1444–56. ©2018 AACR.

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