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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.

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