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Yoshizuka N.,Scripps Research Institute | Chen R.M.,Scripps Research Institute | Chen R.M.,Epitomics Inc. | Xu Z.,Scripps Research Institute | And 9 more authors.
Molecular and Cellular Biology | Year: 2012

The p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway has been implicated in both suppression and promotion of tumorigenesis. It remains unclear how these 2 opposite functions of p38 operate in vivo to impact cancer development. We previously reported that a p38 downstream kinase, p38-regulated/activated kinase (PRAK), suppresses tumor initiation and promotion by mediating oncogene-induced senescence in a murine skin carcinogenesis model. Here, using the same model, we show that once the tumors are formed, PRAK promotes the growth and progression of skin tumors. Further studies identify PRAK as a novel host factor essential for tumor angiogenesis. In response to tumor-secreted proangiogenic factors, PRAK is activated by p38 via a vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR2)-dependent mechanism in host endothelial cells, where it mediates cell migration toward tumors and incorporation of these cells into tumor vasculature, at least partly by regulating the phosphorylation and activation of focal adhesion kinase (FAK) and cytoskeletal reorganization. These findings have uncovered a novel signaling circuit essential for endothelial cell motility and tumor angiogenesis. Moreover, we demonstrate that the tumorsuppressing and tumor-promoting functions of the p38-PRAK pathway are temporally and spatially separated during cancer development in vivo, relying on the stimulus, and the tissue type and the stage of cancer development in which it is activated. © 2012, American Society for Microbiology.

Hong L.,Xiamen University | Hong L.,Scripps Research Institute | Lai M.,Scripps Research Institute | Chen M.,Scripps Research Institute | And 8 more authors.
Cancer Research | Year: 2010

In mammalian cells, activation of oncogenes usually triggers innate tumor-suppressing defense mechanisms, including apoptosis and senescence, which are compromised by additional mutations before cancers are developed. The miR-17-92 gene cluster, a polycistron encoding six microRNAs (miRNA), is frequently overexpressed in human cancers and has been shown to promote several aspects of oncogenic transformation, including evasion of apoptosis. In the current study, we show a new role of miR-17-92 in inhibiting oncogenic ras-induced senescence. Further dissection of the miRNA components in this cluster reveals that the miR-17/20a seed family accounts for this antisenescence activity. miR-17 and miR-20a are both necessary and sufficient for conferring resistance to ras-induced senescence by directly targeting p21WAF1, a key effector of senescence. By contrast, these components are not essential for the ability of miR-17-92 to evade Myc-induced apoptosis. Moreover, disruption of senescence by miR-17-92 or its miR-17/20a components leads to enhanced oncogenic transformation by activated ras in primary human cells. Taken together with previous reports that miR-17-92 inhibits apoptosis by suppressing Pten via the miR-19 components, our results indicate that this miRNA cluster promotes tumorigenesis by antagonizing both tumor-suppressing mechanisms, apoptosis, and senescence, through the activities of different miRNA components encoded in this cluster. ©2010 AACR.

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