Oncogenic RAS-induced CK1α drives nuclear FOXO proteolysis.
Evasion of forkhead box O (FOXO) family of longevity-related transcription factors-mediated growth suppression is necessary to promote cancer development. Since somatic alterations or mutations and transcriptional dysregulation of the FOXO genes are infrequent in human cancers, it remains unclear how these tumour suppressors are eliminated from cancer cells. The protein stability of FOXO3A is regulated by Casein Kinase 1 alpha (CK1α) in an oncogenic RAS-specific manner, but whether this mode of regulation extends to related FOXO family members is unknown. Here we report that CK1α similarly destabilizes FOXO4 in RAS-mutant cells by phosphorylation at serines 265/268. The CK1α-dependent phosphoregulation of FOXO4 is primed, in part, by the PI3K/AKT effector axis of oncogenic RAS signalling. In addition, mutant RAS coordinately elevates proteasome subunit expression and proteolytic activity to eradicate nuclear FOXO4 proteins from RAS-mutant cancer cells. Importantly, dual inhibition of CK1α and the proteasome synergistically inhibited the growth of multiple RAS-mutant human cancer cell lines of diverse tissue origin by blockade of nuclear FOXO4 degradation and induction of caspase-dependent apoptosis. Our findings challenge the current paradigm that nuclear export regulates the proteolysis of FOXO3A/4 tumour suppressors in the context of cancer and illustrates how oncogenic RAS-mediated degradation of FOXOs, via post-translational mechanisms, blocks these important tumour suppressors.
Zhang, F; Virshup, DM; Cheong, JK
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