RASSF1A Inactivation unleashes a tumor suppressor/oncogene cascade with context-dependent consequences on cell cycle progression

Rosalyn R. Ram, Saurabh Mendiratta, Brian O. Bodemann, Michael J. Torres, Ugur Eskiocak, Michael A. White

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18 Scopus citations


The RASSF1A gene is one of the most frequently inactivated genes in over 30 different types of cancers (H. Donninger, M. D. Vos, and G. J. Clark, J. Cell Sci. 120:3163-3172, 2007, http://dx.doi.org/10.1242/jcs.010389). Despite the prevalence of RASSF1A silencing in human cancer, the mechanism by which RASSF1A functions as a tumor suppressor is not well understood. Characterization of the consequences of RASSF1A loss on epithelial cell proliferation revealed that RASSF1A expression suppresses both microRNA 21 (miR-21) expression and extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) activation. The mechanism of the former is through restraint of SCFβTrCP-dependent destruction of the repressor element 1 silencing transcription factor (REST) tumor suppressor and consequent inhibition of miR-21 promoter activation. The mechanism of the latter is through physical sequestration of MST2, which results in accumulation of inactivating S259 phosphorylation of RAF1. Whether or not inactivation of these RASSF1A regulatory relationships can unleash enhanced proliferative capacity is dependent upon the coupling of SCFβTrCP and miR-21 to suppression of SKP2 protein translation and stability. Airway epithelial cultures retain this coupling and therefore respond to RASSF1A inactivation by p27-dependent cell cycle arrest. In contrast, colonic crypt-derived epithelial cells have uncoupled SCFβTrCP from SKP2 and respond to RASSF1A inactivation by enhanced proliferation rates. These observations help account for context-specific molecular etiology of oncogenic transformation and suggest intervention strategies for recently developed SKP2 inhibitors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2350-2358
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular and cellular biology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 2014


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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