Oncogenic Ras differentially regulates metabolism and anoikis in extracellular matrix-detached cells

J. A. Mason, C. A. Davison-Versagli, A. K. Leliaert, D. J. Pape, C. McCallister, J. Zuo, S. M. Durbin, C. L. Buchheit, S. Zhang, Z. T. Schafer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


In order for cancer cells to survive during metastasis, they must overcome anoikis, a caspase-dependent cell death process triggered by extracellular matrix (ECM) detachment, and rectify detachment-induced metabolic defects that compromise cell survival. However, the precise signals used by cancer cells to facilitate their survival during metastasis remain poorly understood. We have discovered that oncogenic Ras facilitates the survival of ECM-detached cancer cells by using distinct effector pathways to regulate metabolism and block anoikis. Surprisingly, we find that while Ras-mediated phosphatidylinositol (3)-kinase signaling is critical for rectifying ECM-detachment-induced metabolic deficiencies, the critical downstream effector is serum and glucocorticoid-regulated kinase-1 (SGK-1) rather than Akt. Our data also indicate that oncogenic Ras blocks anoikis by diminishing expression of the phosphatase PHLPP1 (PH Domain and Leucine-Rich Repeat Protein Phosphatase 1), which promotes anoikis through the activation of p38 MAPK. Thus, our study represents a novel paradigm whereby oncogene-initiated signal transduction can promote the survival of ECM-detached cells through divergent downstream effectors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1271-1282
Number of pages12
JournalCell Death and Differentiation
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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