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Melanoma-associated mutants within the serine-rich domain of PAK5 direct kinase activity to mitogenic pathways.


ABSTRACT: The overexpression and hyperactivity of p21-activated serine/threonine kinases (PAKs) is known to facilitate tumorigenesis; however, the contribution of cancer-associated PAK mutations to tumor initiation and progression remains unclear. Here, we identify p21-activated serine/threonine kinase 5 (PAK5) as the most frequently altered PAK family member in human melanoma. More than 60% of melanoma-associated PAK5 gene alterations are missense mutations, and distribution of these variants throughout the protein coding sequence make it difficult to distinguish oncogenic drivers from passengers. To address this issue, we stably introduced the five most common melanoma-associated PAK5 missense mutations into human immortalized primary melanocytes (hMELTs). While expression of these mutants did not promote single-cell migration or induce temozolomide resistance, a subset of variants drove aberrant melanocyte proliferation. These mitogenic mutants, PAK5 S364L and D421N, clustered within an unstructured, serine-rich domain of the protein and inappropriately activated ERK and PKA through kinase-independent and -dependent mechanisms, respectively. Together, our findings establish the ability of mutant PAK5 to enhance PKA and MAPK signaling in melanocytes and localize the engagement of mitogenic pathways to a serine-rich region of PAK5.

SUBMITTER: LaPak KM 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC5986637 | BioStudies | 2018-01-01T00:00:00Z

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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