Phenotypic Screening Identifies Protein Synthesis Inhibitors as H-Ras-Nanocluster-Increasing Tumor Growth Inducers

Arafath Kaja Najumudeen, Posada IMD, Benoit Lectez, Y Zhou, SK Landor, Adyary Fallarero, P Vuorela, J Hancock, Daniel Abankwa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Ras isoforms H-, N-, and K-ras are each mutated in specific cancer types at varying frequencies and have different activities in cell fate control. On the plasma membrane, Ras proteins are laterally segregated into isoform- specific nanoscale signaling hubs, termed nanoclusters. As Ras nanoclusters are required for Ras signaling, chemical modulators of nanoclusters represent ideal candidates for the specific modulation of Ras activity in cancer drug development. We therefore conducted a chemical screen with commercial and in-house natural product libraries using a cell-based H-ras-nanoclustering FRET assay. Next to established Ras inhibitors, such as a statin and farnesyl-transferase inhibitor, we surprisingly identified five protein synthesis inhibitors as positive regulators. Using commonly employed cycloheximide as a representative compound, we show that protein synthesis inhibition increased nanoclustering and effector recruitment specifically of active H-ras but not of K-ras. Consistent with these data, cycloheximide treatment activated both Erk and Akt kinases and specifically promoted H-rasG12V-induced, but not K-rasG12V- induced, PC12 cell differentiation. Intriguingly, cycloheximide increased the number of mammospheres, which are enriched for cancer stem cells. Depletion of H-ras in combination with cycloheximide significantly reduced mammosphere formation, suggesting an exquisite synthetic lethality. The potential of cycloheximide to promote tumor cell growth was also reflected in its ability to increase breast cancer cell tumors grown in ovo. These results illustrate the possibility of identifying Ras-isoform-specific modulators using nanocluster-directed screening. They also suggest an unexpected feedback from protein synthesis inhibition to Ras signaling, which might present a vulnerability in certain tumor cell types. 

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)7212–7221
JournalBiochemistry
Volume54
Issue number49
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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