Gene Summary

Gene:RALA; RAS like proto-oncogene A
Aliases: RAL
Summary:The product of this gene belongs to the small GTPase superfamily, Ras family of proteins. GTP-binding proteins mediate the transmembrane signaling initiated by the occupancy of certain cell surface receptors. This gene encodes a low molecular mass ras-like GTP-binding protein that shares about 50% similarity with other ras proteins. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:ras-related protein Ral-A
Source:NCBIAccessed: 31 August, 2019


What does this gene/protein do?
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Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1994-2019)
Graph generated 31 August 2019 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

Tag cloud generated 31 August, 2019 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (5)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: RALA (cancer-related)

Singhal SS, Salgia R, Singhal S, et al.
RLIP: An existential requirement for breast carcinogenesis.
Biochim Biophys Acta Rev Cancer. 2019; 1871(2):281-288 [PubMed] Related Publications
Breast cancer (BC) is the most common cancer among women worldwide. Due to its complexity in nature, effective BC treatment can encounter many challenges. The human RALBP1 gene encodes a 76-kDa splice variant protein, RLIP (ral-binding protein1, RalBP1), a stress-protective mercapturic acid pathway (MAP) transporter protein, that also plays a key role in regulating clathrin-dependent endocytosis (CDE) as a Ral effector. Growing evidence shows that targeting RLIP may be an effective strategy in cancer therapy, as RLIP is over-expressed in multiple cancers and is known to induce resistance to apoptosis and chemotherapeutic drugs. Recent studies demonstrated that RLIP is expressed in human BC tissues, as well as BC cell lines. Knockdown of RLIP resulted in apoptotic death of BC cells in vitro, and targeted inhibition and depletion of RLIP resulted in regression of BC in xenograft studies of nude mice. Signaling studies showed that RLIP depletion inhibited endocytosis and differentially regulated signaling to Akt, Myc, and ERK1/2. However, the proliferation and multi-specific transport mechanisms that promote RLIP-mediated cell death in BC are not well understood. In this review, we will discuss a missing but an essentially determining and connecting piece of the puzzle on the understanding of proliferation and transport mechanisms by focused analyses of the apoptotic, drug- and radiation-sensitivity regulated by RLIP, a stress-responsive non-ATP-binding cassette (ABC), high capacity MAP transporter, in breast cancer.

Vedeld HM, Nesbakken A, Lothe RA, Lind GE
Clin Epigenetics. 2018; 10:70 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
We have previously shown that aberrant promoter methylation of

Li J, Tan W, Peng L, et al.
Integrative analysis of gene expression profiles reveals specific signaling pathways associated with pancreatic duct adenocarcinoma.
Cancer Commun (Lond). 2018; 38(1):13 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Pancreatic duct adenocarcinoma (PDAC) remains a major health problem because conventional cancer treatments are relatively ineffective against it. Microarray studies have linked many genes to pancreatic cancer, but the available data have not been extensively mined for potential insights into PDAC. This study attempted to identify PDAC-associated genes and signaling pathways based on six microarray-based profiles of gene expression in pancreatic cancer deposited in the gene expression omnibus database.
METHODS: Pathway network methods were used to analyze core pathways in six publicly available pancreatic cancer gene (GSE71989, GSE15471, GSE16515, GSE32676, GSE41368 and GSE28735) expression profiles. Genes potentially linked to PDAC were assessed for potential impact on survival time based on data in The Cancer Genome Atlas and International Cancer Genome Consortium databases, and the expression of one candidate gene (CKS2) and its association with survival was examined in 102 patients with PDAC from our hospital. Effects of CKS2 knockdown were explored in the PDAC cell lines BxPC-3 and CFPAC-1.
RESULTS: The KEGG signaling pathway called "pathway in cancer" may play an important role in pancreatic cancer development and progression. Five genes (BIRC5, CKS2, ITGA3, ITGA6 and RALA) in this pathway were significantly associated with survival time in patients with PDAC. CKS2 was overexpressed in PDAC samples from our hospital, and higher CKS2 expression in these patients was associated with shorter survival time. CKS2 knockdown substantially inhibited PDAC cell proliferation in vitro.
CONCLUSIONS: Analysis integrating existing microarray datasets allowed identification of the "pathway in cancer" as an important signaling pathway in PDAC. This integrative approach may be powerful for identifying genes and pathways involved in cancer.

Mirzapur P, Khazaei MR, Moradi MT, Khazaei M
Apoptosis induction in human breast cancer cell lines by synergic effect of raloxifene and resveratrol through increasing proapoptotic genes.
Life Sci. 2018; 205:45-53 [PubMed] Related Publications
AIMS: Breast cancer is the most common cancer of women. The aim of this study was to investigate the synergic effect of raloxifene (Ral) and resveratrol (Res) on apoptosis of breast cancer cell lines (MCF7 and MDA-MB-231).
MAIN METHODS: Cells were treated with Ral and Res alone and in combination. Cell viability (MTT assay), apoptosis (TUNEL assay) and nitric oxide (NO) production (Griess method) were investigated. Expression of proapoptotic gene (Bax and p53), anti-apoptotic gene (Bcl2) and caspases-3, caspase -8 were evaluated. One-way ANOVA test was used for data analysis.
KEY FINDINGS: The viabilities of MCF7 and MDA-MB-231 cells treated by Ral (1 μM) and Res (20 μM) decreased significantly (p = 0.000) and their synergic use showed more reduction. Nitric oxide production by MCF7 and MDA-MB-231 cells exposed upon each drug alone and in combination showing a significant reduction (p = 0.000). There was also an increase in apoptosis in the cells treated with combination use of Ral and Res in both cell lines. Moreover, reduced expression of Bcl2 and increased expression of Bax and p53 genes were observed.
SIGNIFICANCE: The synergic effects of Ral and Res through increased ratio of Bcl2/Bax and expressions of p53, caspase-3 and caspase-8 genes indicating a better therapeutic effect on breast cancer cells relative to each drug alone. Combination of Res and Ral via increased expression of apoptotic genes including Bax, p53 and caspase-3 and caspase-8 is able to promote apoptosis as a mitochondrial dependent pathway in MCF7 and MDA-MB-231. The synergic effect was more potent in MCF7 estrogen receptor positive cell line.

Chen Q, Zhu L, Zong H, et al.
Subcellular localization of aquaporin 3 in prostate cancer is regulated by RalA.
Oncol Rep. 2018; 39(5):2171-2177 [PubMed] Related Publications
We previously found that in normal epithelia of the prostate, localization of AQP3 is limited to the cell membranes; however, the expression of AQP3 protein in cancer epithelia is distributed to the plasma. Yet, the detailed mechanism remains unclear. In the present study, PC‑3 cell derivatives with stable knockdown of RAS like proto‑oncogene A (RalA) and overexpression of E‑cadherin were established. We found that overexpression of E‑cadherin and knockdown of RaLA resulted in an increase in AQP3 in prostate cancer cell plasma membranes. In order to investigate the functions caused by of the AQP3 redistribution in prostate cancer cells, the growth function of AQP3 redistribution was detected with clonogenic, MTT and MTS assays. In regards to the effect on apoptosis, flow cytometric analysis and DNA Ladder TUNEL assay were utilized. The results showed that AQP3 redistribution in PC‑3 cells significantly inhibited the proliferation of cells and enhanced cell apoptosis compared with these parameters in the control. Wound healing assay and Matrigel assays determined that knockout of RalA inhibited the motility and invasion capability of PC‑3 cells. To investigate the molecular mechanism involved in AQP3 redistribution in PC‑3 cells, the level of cAMP in PC‑3 cells was examined, and the results showed that AQP3 distribution was regulated through cAMP/PKA/RalA signal pathways. In conclusion, these studies suggest a novel function of AQP3, and provide a creative view for RalA-directed therapies.

Khan AQ, Kuttikrishnan S, Siveen KS, et al.
RAS-mediated oncogenic signaling pathways in human malignancies.
Semin Cancer Biol. 2019; 54:1-13 [PubMed] Related Publications
Abnormally activated RAS proteins are the main oncogenic driver that governs the functioning of major signaling pathways involved in the initiation and development of human malignancies. Mutations in RAS genes and or its regulators, most frequent in human cancers, are the main force for incessant RAS activation and associated pathological conditions including cancer. In general, RAS is the main upstream regulator of the highly conserved signaling mechanisms associated with a plethora of important cellular activities vital for normal homeostasis. Mutated or the oncogenic RAS aberrantly activates a web of interconnected signaling pathways including RAF-MEK (mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase)-ERK (extracellular signal-regulated kinase), phosphoinositide-3 kinase (PI3K)/AKT (protein kinase B), protein kinase C (PKC) and ral guanine nucleotide dissociation stimulator (RALGDS), etc., leading to uncontrolled transcriptional expression and reprogramming in the functioning of a range of nuclear and cytosolic effectors critically associated with the hallmarks of carcinogenesis. This review highlights the recent literature on how oncogenic RAS negatively use its signaling web in deregulating the expression and functioning of various effector molecules in the pathogenesis of human malignancies.

D'Aloia A, Berruti G, Costa B, et al.
RalGPS2 is involved in tunneling nanotubes formation in 5637 bladder cancer cells.
Exp Cell Res. 2018; 362(2):349-361 [PubMed] Related Publications
RalGPS2 is a Ras-independent Guanine Nucleotide Exchange Factor (GEF) for RalA containing a PH domain and an SH3-binding region and it is involved in several cellular processes, such as cytokinesis, control of cell cycle progression, differentiation, cytoskeleton organization and rearrangement. Up to now, few data have been published regarding RalGPS2 role in cancer cells, and its involvement in bladder cancer is yet to be established. In this paper we demonstrated that RalGPS2 is expressed in urothelial carcinoma-derived 5637 cancer cells and is essential for cellular growth. These cells produces thin membrane protrusions that displayed the characteristics of actin rich tunneling nanotubes (TNTs) and here we show that RalGPS2 is involved in the formation of these cellular protrusions. In fact the overexpression of RalGPS2 or of its PH-domain increased markedly the number and the length of nanotubes, while the knock-down of RalGPS2 caused a strong reduction of these structures. Moreover, using a series of RalA mutants impaired in the interaction with different downstream components (Sec5, Exo84, RalBP1) we demonstrated that the interaction of RalA with Sec5 is required for TNTs formation. Furthermore, we found that RalGPS2 interacts with the transmembrane MHC class III protein leukocyte specific transcript 1 (LST1) and RalA, leading to the formation of a complex which promotes TNTs generation. These findings allow us to add novel elements to molecular models that have been previously proposed regarding TNTs formation.

Yan C, Theodorescu D
RAL GTPases: Biology and Potential as Therapeutic Targets in Cancer.
Pharmacol Rev. 2018; 70(1):1-11 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
More than a hundred proteins comprise the RAS superfamily of small GTPases. This family can be divided into RAS, RHO, RAB, RAN, ARF, and RAD subfamilies, with each shown to play distinct roles in human cells in both health and disease. The RAS subfamily has a well-established role in human cancer with the three genes,

Ajani JA, Estrella JS, Chen Q, et al.
Galectin-3 expression is prognostic in diffuse type gastric adenocarcinoma, confers aggressive phenotype, and can be targeted by YAP1/BET inhibitors.
Br J Cancer. 2018; 118(1):52-61 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Overexpression of Galectin-3 (Gal-3), a β-galactoside binding protein, has been noted in many tumour types but its functional significance and clinical utility in gastric adenocarcinoma (GAC) are not well known.
METHODS: We studied 184 GAC patients characterised by histologic grade, sub-phenotypes (diffuse vs intestinal), and ethnicity (Asians vs North Americans). Immunohistochemistry was performed to assess the expression of Gal-3 in human GACs and we correlated it to the clinical outcomes. Cell proliferation, invasion, co-immunoprecipitation and kinase activity assays were done in genetically stable Gal-3 overexpressing GC cell lines and the parental counterparts to delineate the mechanisms of action and activity of inhibitors.
RESULTS: Most patients were men, Asian, and had a poorly differentiated GAC. Gal-3 was over-expressed in poorly differentiated (P=0.002) tumours and also in diffuse sub-phenotype (P=0.02). Gal-3 overexpression was associated with shorter overall survival (OS; P=0.026) in all patients. Although, Gal-3 over-expression was not prognostic in the Asian cohort (P=0.337), it was highly prognostic in the North American cohort (P=0.001). In a multivariate analysis, Gal-3 (P=0.001) and N-stage (P=<0.001) were independently prognostic for shorter OS. Mechanistically, Gal-3 induced c-MYC expression through increasing RalA activity and an enhanced YAP1/RalA/RalBP complex to confer an aggressive phenotype. YAP1/BET bromodomain inhibitors reduced Gal-3-mediated aggressive phenotypes in GAC cells.
CONCLUSIONS: Gal-3 is an independent prognostic marker of shorter OS and a novel therapeutic target particularly in diffuse type GAC in North American patients.

Naidu S, Shi L, Magee P, et al.
PDGFR-modulated miR-23b cluster and miR-125a-5p suppress lung tumorigenesis by targeting multiple components of KRAS and NF-kB pathways.
Sci Rep. 2017; 7(1):15441 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
In NSCLC alterations in PDGF receptors are markers of worst prognosis and efficient targeting of these receptors is yet to be achieved. In this study, we explored PDGFR-regulated microRNAs demonstrating that miR-23b cluster and miR-125a-5p are downregulated by increased expression of PDGFR-α or PDGFR-β in NSCLC cells. Mechanistically, the expression of these microRNAs is positively regulated by p53 and negatively modulated by NF-kB p65. Forced expression of miR-23b cluster or miR-125a-5p enhanced drug sensitivity and suppressed invasiveness of NSCLC cells by silencing several genes involved in oncogenic KRAS and NF-kB pathways, including SOS1, GRB2, IQGAP1, RALA, RAF-1, IKKβ, AKT2, ERK2 and KRAS itself. Of note, an inverse correlation between miR-23b cluster, miR-125a-5p and respective target genes was also found in vivo in a large dataset of lung adenocarcinoma samples. Furthermore, in vivo delivery of miR-23b cluster or miR-125a-5p significantly repressed tumour growth in a highly aggressive NSCLC circulating tumour cell (CTC) patient derived explant (CDX) mouse model. In conclusion, our finding sheds light on the PDGFR signaling and endorses the possibility to employ miR-23b cluster and miR-125a-5p as therapeutic tools to silence simultaneously a range of redundant pathways and main effectors of tumorigenesis in NSCLC.

Jonckheere N, Vasseur R, Van Seuningen I
The cornerstone K-RAS mutation in pancreatic adenocarcinoma: From cell signaling network, target genes, biological processes to therapeutic targeting.
Crit Rev Oncol Hematol. 2017; 111:7-19 [PubMed] Related Publications
RAS belongs to the super family of small G proteins and plays crucial roles in signal transduction from membrane receptors in the cell. Mutations of K-RAS oncogene lead to an accumulation of GTP-bound proteins that maintains an active conformation. In the pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), one of the most deadly cancers in occidental countries, mutations of the K-RAS oncogene are nearly systematic (>90%). Moreover, K-RAS mutation is the earliest genetic alteration occurring during pancreatic carcinogenetic sequence. In this review, we discuss the central role of K-RAS mutations and their tremendous diversity of biological properties by the interconnected regulation of signaling pathways (MAPKs, NF-κB, PI3K, Ral…). In pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, transcriptome analysis and preclinical animal models showed that K-RAS mutation alters biological behavior of PDAC cells (promoting proliferation, migration and invasion, evading growth suppressors, regulating mucin pattern, and miRNA expression). K-RAS also impacts tumor microenvironment and PDAC metabolism reprogramming. Finally we discuss therapeutic targeting strategies of K-RAS that have been developed without significant clinical success so far. As K-RAS is considered as the undruggable target, targeting its multiple effectors and target genes should be considered as potential alternatives.

Pomeroy EJ, Lee LA, Lee RDW, et al.
Ras oncogene-independent activation of RALB signaling is a targetable mechanism of escape from NRAS(V12) oncogene addiction in acute myeloid leukemia.
Oncogene. 2017; 36(23):3263-3273 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Somatic mutations that lead to constitutive activation of NRAS and KRAS proto-oncogenes are among the most common in human cancer and frequently occur in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). An inducible NRAS(V12)-driven AML mouse model has established a critical role for continued NRAS(V12) expression in leukemia maintenance. In this model genetic suppression of NRAS(V12) expression results in rapid leukemia remission, but some mice undergo spontaneous relapse with NRAS(V12)-independent (NRI) AMLs providing an opportunity to identify mechanisms that bypass the requirement for Ras oncogene activity and drive leukemia relapse. We found that relapsed NRI AMLs are devoid of NRAS(V12) expression and signaling through the major oncogenic Ras effector pathways, phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase and mitogen-activated protein kinase, but express higher levels of an alternate Ras effector, Ralb, and exhibit NRI phosphorylation of the RALB effector TBK1, implicating RALB signaling in AML relapse. Functional studies confirmed that inhibiting CDK5-mediated RALB activation with a clinically relevant experimental drug, dinaciclib, led to potent RALB-dependent antileukemic effects in human AML cell lines, induced apoptosis in patient-derived AML samples in vitro and led to a 2-log reduction in the leukemic burden in patient-derived xenograft mice. Furthermore, dinaciclib potently suppressed the clonogenic potential of relapsed NRI AMLs in vitro and prevented the development of relapsed AML in vivo. Our findings demonstrate that Ras oncogene-independent activation of RALB signaling is a therapeutically targetable mechanism of escape from NRAS oncogene addiction in AML.

Ali AA, McCrudden CM, McCaffrey J, et al.
DNA vaccination for cervical cancer; a novel technology platform of RALA mediated gene delivery via polymeric microneedles.
Nanomedicine. 2017; 13(3):921-932 [PubMed] Related Publications
HPV subtypes (16, 18) are associated with the development of cervical cancer, with oncoproteins E6 and E7 responsible for pathogenesis. The goal of this study was to evaluate our 'smart system' technology platform for DNA vaccination against cervical cancer. The vaccination platform brings together two main components; a peptide RALA which condenses DNA into cationic nanoparticles (NPs), and a polymeric polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) microneedle (MN) patch for cutaneous delivery of the loaded NPs. RALA condensed E6/E7 DNA into NPs not exceeding 100nm in diameter, and afforded the DNA protection from degradation in PVP. Sera from mice vaccinated with MN/RALA-E6/E7 were richer in E6/E7-specific IgGs, displayed a greater T-cell-mediated TC-1 cytotoxicity and contained more IFN-γ than sera from mice that received NPs intramuscularly. More importantly, MN/RALA-E6/E7 delayed TC-1 tumor initiation in a prophylactic model, and slowed tumor growth in a therapeutic model of vaccination, and was more potent than intramuscular vaccination.

Ginn KF, Fangman B, Terai K, et al.
RalA is overactivated in medulloblastoma.
J Neurooncol. 2016; 130(1):99-110 [PubMed] Related Publications
Medulloblastoma (MDB) represents a major form of malignant brain tumors in the pediatric population. A vast spectrum of research on MDB has advanced our understanding of the underlying mechanism, however, a significant need still exists to develop novel therapeutics on the basis of gaining new knowledge about the characteristics of cell signaling networks involved. The Ras signaling pathway, one of the most important proto-oncogenic pathways involved in human cancers, has been shown to be involved in the development of neurological malignancies. We have studied an important effector down-stream of Ras, namely RalA (Ras-Like), for the first time and revealed overactivation of RalA in MDB. Affinity precipitation analysis of active RalA (RalA-GTP) in eight MDB cell lines (DAOY, RES256, RES262, UW228-1, UW426, UW473, D283 and D425) revealed that the majority contained elevated levels of active RalA (RalA-GTP) as compared with fetal cerebellar tissue as a normal control. Additionally, total RalA levels were shown to be elevated in 20 MDB patient samples as compared to normal brain tissue. The overall expression of RalA, however, was comparable in cancerous and normal samples. Other important effectors of RalA pathway including RalA binding protein-1 (RalBP1) and protein phosphatase A (PP2A) down-stream of Ral and Aurora kinase A (AKA) as an upstream RalA activator were also investigated in MDB. Considering the lack of specific inhibitors for RalA, we used gene specific silencing in order to inhibit RalA expression. Using a lentivirus expressing anti-RalA shRNA we successfully inhibited RalA expression in MDB and observed a significant reduction in proliferation and invasiveness. Similar results were observed using inhibitors of AKA and geranyl-geranyl transferase (non-specific inhibitors of RalA signaling) in terms of loss of in vivo tumorigenicity in heterotopic nude mouse model. Finally, once tested in cells expressing CD133 (a marker for MDB cancer stem cells), higher levels of RalA activation was observed. These data not only bring RalA to light as an important contributor to the malignant phenotype of MDB but introduces this pathway as a novel target in the treatment of this malignancy.

Zhang H, Li W
Dysregulation of micro-143-3p and BALBP1 contributes to the pathogenesis of the development of ovarian carcinoma.
Oncol Rep. 2016; 36(6):3605-3610 [PubMed] Related Publications
The objective of the present study was to identify the association between mir-143-3p and RalA-binding protein 1 (RALBP1), and their roles in regulating the development of ovarian cancer. Overexpression of RALBP1 induced apoptosis of the ovarian cancer cells, and developed ovarian cancer. In silico analysis and luciferase assay were used to identify whether RALBP1 was the target of mir-143-3p. Subsequently, real‑time PCR and western blotting were used to determine the expression level of mir-143-3p, RALBP1 mRNA and protein in different groups, furthermore, MTT assay and flow cytometry were used to detect the viability and apoptosis of cells in different treatment groups. We identified RALBP1 as a target gene of miR-143-3p using computational analysis, and the luciferase activity of cells transfected with wild-type RALBP1 and RALBP1 siRNA were much lower than the scramble control, however, the luciferase activity of cells transfected with mutant RALBP1 was similar with scramble control. The real-time PCR and western blot results suggested that the miR‑143-3p level was markedly lower in participants with ovarian cancer compared with normal control, while the expression of RALBP1 mRNA and protein were evidently overexpressed in participants with ovarian cancer compared with normal control. Furthermore, the RALBP1 mRNA and protein level in cells transfected with miR-143-3p mimics and RALBP1 siRNA were downregulated, while notably upregulated subsequent to transfection with miR-143-3p inhibitor, when compared with scramble control. Additionally, the viability of cells were inhibited following transfection with miR-143-3p mimics and RALBP1 siRNA, while notably promoted subsequent to transfection with miR-143-3p inhibitor. Apoptosis of cells were promoted following transfection with miR-143-3p mimics and RALBP1 siRNA, while notably inhibited subsequent to transfection with miR-143-3p inhibitor. These findings provide support that downregulation of the miR-143-3p is associated with a decreased risk of ovarian cancer.

Eckfeldt CE, Pomeroy EJ, Lee RD, et al.
RALB provides critical survival signals downstream of Ras in acute myeloid leukemia.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(40):65147-65156 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Mutations that activate RAS proto-oncogenes and their effectors are common in acute myeloid leukemia (AML); however, efforts to therapeutically target Ras or its effectors have been unsuccessful, and have been hampered by an incomplete understanding of which effectors are required for AML proliferation and survival. We investigated the role of Ras effector pathways in AML using murine and human AML models. Whereas genetic disruption of NRAS(V12) expression in an NRAS(V12) and Mll-AF9-driven murine AML induced apoptosis of leukemic cells, inhibition of phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K) and/or mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling did not reproduce this effect. Conversely, genetic disruption of RALB signaling induced AML cell death and phenocopied the effects of suppressing oncogenic Ras directly - uncovering a novel role for RALB signaling in AML survival. Knockdown of RALB led to decreased phosphorylation of TBK1 and reduced BCL2 expression, providing mechanistic insight into RALB survival signaling in AML. Notably, we found that patient-derived AML blasts have higher levels of RALB-TBK1 signaling compared to normal blood leukocytes, supporting a pathophysiologic role for RALB signaling for AML patients. Overall, our work provides new insight into the specific roles of Ras effector pathways in AML and has identified RALB signaling as a key survival pathway.

Zhang C, Cai Z, Liang Q, et al.
RLIP76 Depletion Enhances Autophagic Flux in U251 Cells.
Cell Mol Neurobiol. 2017; 37(3):555-562 [PubMed] Related Publications
Our previous study showed that RalA-binding protein 1 (RLIP76) is overexpressed in gliomas and is associated with higher tumour grade and decreased patient survival. Furthermore, RLIP76 downregulation increases chemosensitivity of glioma cells to temozolomide by inducing apoptosis. However, other mechanisms underlying RLIP76-associated chemoresistance are unknown. In this study, we investigated the effect of RLIP76 depletion on autophagy. RLIP76 was knocked down in U251 glioma cells using shRNA and autophagy-related proteins, and PI3K/Akt signalling components were evaluated. RLIP76 depletion significantly increased cell autophagy as demonstrated by a significant increase in LC3 II, autophagy protein 5 (ATG-5), and Beclin1, and a decrease in p62 expression levels. Furthermore, RLIP76 knockdown increased autophagic flux in U251 cells as autolysosome numbers increased relative to autophagosome numbers. Autophagy induced by RLIP76 knockdown resulted in increased apoptosis that was independent of temozolomide treatment. Moreover, RLIP76 knockdown decreased PI3K and Akt activation. RLIP76 depletion also resulted in decreased levels of the anti-apoptotic protein Bcl2. LY294002, a PI3K/Akt pathway inhibitor, led to increased autophagy and apoptosis in U251 RLIP76-depleted cells. Therefore, RLIP76 knockdown increased autophagic flux and apoptosis in U251 glioma cells, possibly through inhibition of the PI3K/Akt pathway. Thus, this study provides a novel mechanism for the role of RLIP76 in glioma pathogenesis and chemoresistance.

Madureira PA, Bharadwaj AG, Bydoun M, et al.
Cell surface protease activation during RAS transformation: Critical role of the plasminogen receptor, S100A10.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(30):47720-47737 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The link between oncogenic RAS expression and the acquisition of the invasive phenotype has been attributed to alterations in cellular activities that control degradation of the extracellular matrix. Oncogenic RAS-mediated upregulation of matrix metalloproteinase 2 (MMP-2), MMP-9 and urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) is critical for invasion through the basement membrane and extracellular matrix. The uPA converts cell surface-bound plasminogen to plasmin, a process that is regulated by the binding of plasminogen to specific receptors on the cell surface, however, the identity of the plasminogen receptors that function in this capacity is unclear. We have observed that transformation of cancer cells with oncogenic forms of RAS increases plasmin proteolytic activity by 2- to 4-fold concomitant with a 3-fold increase in cell invasion. Plasminogen receptor profiling revealed RAS-dependent increases in both S100A10 and cytokeratin 8. Oncogenic RAS expression increased S100A10 gene expression which resulted in an increase in S100A10 protein levels. Analysis with the RAS effector-loop mutants that interact specifically with Raf, Ral GDS pathways highlighted the importance of the RalGDS pathways in the regulation of S100A10 gene expression. Depletion of S100A10 from RAS-transformed cells resulted in a loss of both cellular plasmin generation and invasiveness. These results strongly suggest that increases in cell surface levels of S100A10, by oncogenic RAS, plays a critical role in RAS-stimulated plasmin generation, and subsequently, in the invasiveness of oncogenic RAS expressing cancer cells.

Dickinson PJ, York D, Higgins RJ, et al.
Chromosomal Aberrations in Canine Gliomas Define Candidate Genes and Common Pathways in Dogs and Humans.
J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 2016; 75(7):700-10 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Spontaneous gliomas in dogs occur at a frequency similar to that in humans and may provide a translational model for therapeutic development and comparative biological investigations. Copy number alterations in 38 canine gliomas, including diffuse astrocytomas, glioblastomas, oligodendrogliomas, and mixed oligoastrocytomas, were defined using an Illumina 170K single nucleotide polymorphism array. Highly recurrent alterations were seen in up to 85% of some tumor types, most notably involving chromosomes 13, 22, and 38, and gliomas clustered into 2 major groups consisting of high-grade IV astrocytomas, or oligodendrogliomas and other tumors. Tumor types were characterized by specific broad and focal chromosomal events including focal loss of the INK4A/B locus in glioblastoma and loss of the RB1 gene and amplification of the PDGFRA gene in oligodendrogliomas. Genes associated with the 3 critical pathways in human high-grade gliomas (TP53, RB1, and RTK/RAS/PI3K) were frequently associated with canine aberrations. Analysis of oligodendrogliomas revealed regions of chromosomal losses syntenic to human 1p involving tumor suppressor genes, such as CDKN2C, as well as genes associated with apoptosis, autophagy, and response to chemotherapy and radiation. Analysis of high frequency chromosomal aberrations with respect to human orthologues may provide insight into both novel and common pathways in gliomagenesis and response to therapy.

Wan ZY, Tian JS, Tan HW, et al.
Mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 is an essential mediator of metabolic and mitogenic effects of fibroblast growth factor 19 in hepatoma cells.
Hepatology. 2016; 64(4):1289-301 [PubMed] Related Publications
UNLABELLED: Fibroblast growth factor 19 (FGF19) is an important postprandial enterokine which regulates liver metabolism and hepatocyte proliferation. However, the precise mechanism by which FGF19 regulates these cellular effects is poorly understood. Given that mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) regulates numerous postprandial adaptations, we investigated the potential role of mTORC1 in FGF19 action. We found that FGF19 activated mTORC1 in HepG2 and HuH7 human hepatoma cells, differentiated 3T3-L1 adipocytes and mouse liver. FGF19 activates the mTORC1-p70S6K and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (Erk)-p90RSK pathways independently to regulate S6 in an additive manner in hepatoma cells, but it uses mTORC1 as the primary pathway to regulate S6 in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Thus, mTORC1 is a novel mediator of FGF19 signaling, which can act in parallel with Erk or function as the primary pathway to regulate S6. The FGF19-induced mTORC1 pathway requires amino acids for efficient signaling; thus, involvement of mTORC1 confers amino acid sensitivity to FGF19 signaling. Although Akt and Erk are known to activate mTORC1, we found that FGF19 signals to mTORC1 through a third recently identified mTORC1 regulator, Ras-like (Ral) protein. Pharmacological or genetic inhibition of RalA or RalB abolished FGF19-induced mTORC1 activation, demonstrating that Ral proteins are required for FGF19 to activate mTORC1. FGF19 induced metabolic gene expression, fatty acid oxidation, cell growth, and proliferation in HepG2 cells; and these effects were abolished by mTORC1 inhibition, demonstrating an essential role of mTORC1 in FGF19 action.
CONCLUSION: mTORC1 is a novel and essential mediator of FGF19 action on metabolic and mitogenic programs; thus, the involvement of mTORC1 in FGF19 signaling is an important factor to consider when targeting the pathway for cancer or diabetes therapy. (Hepatology 2016;64:1289-1301).

O Santos A, Parrini MC, Camonis J
RalGPS2 Is Essential for Survival and Cell Cycle Progression of Lung Cancer Cells Independently of Its Established Substrates Ral GTPases.
PLoS One. 2016; 11(5):e0154840 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The human genome contains six genes coding for proteins validated in vitro as specific activators of the small GTPases "Ras-related protein Ral-A" and "Ras-related protein Ral-B", generically named Ral-guanine nucleotide exchange factors (RalGEF). Ral proteins are important contributors to Ras oncogenic signaling, and RAS oncogenes are important in human Non-Small Cell Lung Carcinoma (NSCLC). Therefore in this work, RalGEF contribution to oncogenic and non-oncogenic features of human NSCLC cell lines, as anchorage-dependent and independent growth, cell survival, and proliferation, was investigated. Among all human RalGEF, silencing of RGL1 and RALGPS1 had no detectable effect. However, silencing of either RGL2, RGL3, RALGDS or, to a larger extent, RALGPS2 inhibited cell population growth in anchorage dependent and independent conditions (up to 90 and 80%, respectively). RALGPS2 silencing also caused an increase in the number of apoptotic cells, up to 45% of the cell population in transformed bronchial BZR cells. In H1299 and A549, two NSCLC cell lines, RALGPS2 silencing caused an arrest of cells in the G0/G1-phase of cell cycle. Furthermore, it was associated with the modulation of important cell cycle regulators: the E3 Ubiquitin Protein Ligase S-phase kinase-associated protein 2 (Skp2) was strongly down-regulated (both at mRNA and protein levels), and its targets, the cell cycle inhibitors p27 and p21, were up-regulated. These molecular effects were not mimicked by silencing RALA, RALB, or both. However, RALB silencing caused a modest inhibition of cell cycle progression, which in H1299 cells was associated with Cyclin D1 regulation. In conclusion, RALGPS2 is implicated in the control of cell cycle progression and survival in the in vitro growth of NSCLC cell lines. This function is largely independent of Ral GTPases and associated with modulation of Skp2, p27 and p21 cell cycle regulators.

Athuluri-Divakar SK, Vasquez-Del Carpio R, Dutta K, et al.
A Small Molecule RAS-Mimetic Disrupts RAS Association with Effector Proteins to Block Signaling.
Cell. 2016; 165(3):643-55 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Oncogenic activation of RAS genes via point mutations occurs in 20%-30% of human cancers. The development of effective RAS inhibitors has been challenging, necessitating new approaches to inhibit this oncogenic protein. Functional studies have shown that the switch region of RAS interacts with a large number of effector proteins containing a common RAS-binding domain (RBD). Because RBD-mediated interactions are essential for RAS signaling, blocking RBD association with small molecules constitutes an attractive therapeutic approach. Here, we present evidence that rigosertib, a styryl-benzyl sulfone, acts as a RAS-mimetic and interacts with the RBDs of RAF kinases, resulting in their inability to bind to RAS, disruption of RAF activation, and inhibition of the RAS-RAF-MEK pathway. We also find that ribosertib binds to the RBDs of Ral-GDS and PI3Ks. These results suggest that targeting of RBDs across multiple signaling pathways by rigosertib may represent an effective strategy for inactivation of RAS signaling.

Debeb BG, Lacerda L, Anfossi S, et al.
miR-141-Mediated Regulation of Brain Metastasis From Breast Cancer.
J Natl Cancer Inst. 2016; 108(8) [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Brain metastasis poses a major treatment challenge and remains an unmet clinical need. Finding novel therapies to prevent and treat brain metastases requires an understanding of the biology and molecular basis of the process, which currently is constrained by a dearth of experimental models and specific therapeutic targets.
METHODS: Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP)-labeled breast cancer cells were injected via tail vein into SCID/Beige mice (n = 10-15 per group), and metastatic colonization to the brain and lung was evaluated eight weeks later. Knockdown and overexpression of miR-141 were achieved with lentiviral vectors. Serum levels of miR-141 were measured from breast cancer patients (n = 105), and the association with clinical outcome was determined by Kaplan-Meier method. All statistical tests were two-sided.
RESULTS: Novel brain metastasis mouse models were developed via tail vein injection of parental triple-negative and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-overexpressing inflammatory breast cancer lines. Knockdown of miR-141 inhibited metastatic colonization to brain (miR-141 knockdown vs control: SUM149, 0/8 mice vs 6/9 mice,P= .009; MDA-IBC3, 2/14 mice vs 10/15 mice,P= .007). Ectopic expression of miR-141 in nonexpressing MDA-MB-231 enhanced brain metastatic colonization (5/9 mice vs 0/10 mice,P= .02). Furthermore, high miR-141 serum levels were associated with shorter brain metastasis-free survival (P= .04) and were an independent predictor of progression-free survival (hazard ratio [HR] = 4.77, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 2.61 to 8.71,P< .001) and overall survival (HR = 7.22, 95% CI = 3.46 to 15.06,P< .001).
CONCLUSIONS: Our study suggests miR-141 is a regulator of brain metastasis from breast cancer and should be examined as a biomarker and potential target to prevent and treat brain metastases.

Hobbs GA, Der CJ, Rossman KL
RAS isoforms and mutations in cancer at a glance.
J Cell Sci. 2016; 129(7):1287-92 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
RAS proteins (KRAS4A, KRAS4B, NRAS and HRAS) function as GDP-GTP-regulated binary on-off switches, which regulate cytoplasmic signaling networks that control diverse normal cellular processes. Gain-of-function missense mutations in RAS genes are found in ∼25% of human cancers, prompting interest in identifying anti-RAS therapeutic strategies for cancer treatment. However, despite more than three decades of intense effort, no anti-RAS therapies have reached clinical application. Contributing to this failure has been an underestimation of the complexities of RAS. First, there is now appreciation that the four human RAS proteins are not functionally identical. Second, with >130 different missense mutations found in cancer, there is an emerging view that there are mutation-specific consequences on RAS structure, biochemistry and biology, and mutation-selective therapeutic strategies are needed. In this Cell Science at a Glance article and accompanying poster, we provide a snapshot of the differences between RAS isoforms and mutations, as well as the current status of anti-RAS drug-discovery efforts.

Ma W, Liu J, Xie J, et al.
Modulating the Growth and Imatinib Sensitivity of Chronic Myeloid Leukemia Stem/Progenitor Cells with Pullulan/MicroRNA Nanoparticles In Vitro.
J Biomed Nanotechnol. 2015; 11(11):1961-74 [PubMed] Related Publications
Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) originates from normal hematopoietic stem cells acquiring Philadelphia chromosome (Ph) to generate BCR-ABL fusion gene whose protein product has deregulated tyrosine kinase activity. Specific inhibitors against BCR-ABL, such as Imatinib mesylate (IM), have greatly improved CML management; however, no single agent is a cure yet. Delivery of microRNA (miRNA) using non-viral vectors has been utilized to inhibit various cancer cells; however, the efficacy of this approach to target CML stem/progenitor cells has not been elucidated. In this study, we firstly validated that spermine-introduced pullulan (Ps) was a robust non-viral vector for delivery of miRNA to CML cells, including the CD34+ cells from clinical isolates. We then found that the miR-181a/RALA (V-ral simian leukemia viral oncogene homolog A) axis was aberrantly expressed in the CML CD34+ cells. The delivery of miR-181a specifically inhibited the growth of CML CD34+ cells, possibly via the inhibition of RALA. In contrast, miR-181a did not evidently affect the normal hematopoietic CD34+ cells. In addition, miR-181a increased IM sensitivity of the CD34+ CML cells. Taken together, we have therefore demonstrated that the delivery of miR-181a using Ps to CML stem/progenitor cells leads to their growth inhibition and enhancement of IM sensitivity, which will possibly be beneficial to CML treatment.

Wu J, Zhang H, Xu C, et al.
TIPE2 functions as a metastasis suppressor via negatively regulating β-catenin through activating GSK3β in gastric cancer.
Int J Oncol. 2016; 48(1):199-206 [PubMed] Related Publications
Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α-induced protein 8-like 2 (TNFAIP8L2, TIPE2) is a novel anti-inflammatory factor involved in maintaining immune homeostasis. Accumulating evidence has also shown that TIPE2 displays tumor-suppressive effects in several tumor types. Previous studies revealed that TIPE2 inhibits hepatocellular carcinoma metastasis by repressing Ral and Rac1 GTPases. However, its antimetastatic activity and underlying mechanism in other human cancers is largely unknown. We investigated TIPE2 in AGS, HGC-27 and SGC-7901 human gastric cancer cells compared with GES-1 normal human gastric mucous epithelial cells. We demonstrated that TIPE2 was expressed in GES-1 gastric mucous epithelial cells but lost in all three types of gastric cancer cells. We then performed a gain-of-function study by adenovirus-mediated TIPE2 overexpression (AdVTIPE2) and investigated the effects of TIPE2 on migration and invasion of AGS human gastric cancer cells. Wound healing and Transwell invasion assays showed that forced expression of TIPE2 markedly suppressed the gastric cancer cell migration and invasion in vitro. Mechanistically, TIPE2 remarkably reduced the total levels of pAKT, pGSK3β and β-catenin as well as the nuclear level of β-catenin in gastric cancer cells. The TIPE2-elicited antimetastatic effect in gastric cancer was closely associated with the inhibition of AKT signaling and enhancement of GSK3β activity followed by the degradation and decreased translocation to nucleus of β-catenin. These results provide the first compelling evidence that TIPE2 suppresses gastric cancer metastasis via downregulating β-catenin signaling through inhibiting AKT and activating GSK3β, indicating that TIPE2 is a promising therapeutic target for human gastric cancer metastasis.

Vasseur R, Skrypek N, Duchêne B, et al.
The mucin MUC4 is a transcriptional and post-transcriptional target of K-ras oncogene in pancreatic cancer. Implication of MAPK/AP-1, NF-κB and RalB signaling pathways.
Biochim Biophys Acta. 2015; 1849(12):1375-84 [PubMed] Related Publications
The membrane-bound mucinMUC4 is a high molecularweight glycoprotein frequently deregulated in cancer. In pancreatic cancer, one of the most deadly cancers in occidental countries, MUC4 is neo-expressed in the preneoplastic stages and thereafter is involved in cancer cell properties leading to cancer progression and chemoresistance. K-ras oncogene is a small GTPase of the RAS superfamily, highly implicated in cancer. K-ras mutations are considered as an initiating event of pancreatic carcinogenesis and K-ras oncogenic activities are necessary components of cancer progression. However, K-ras remains clinically undruggable. Targeting early downstream K-ras signaling in cancer may thus appear as an interesting strategy and MUC4 regulation by K-ras in pancreatic carcinogenesis remains unknown. Using the Pdx1-Cre; LStopL-K-rasG12D mouse model of pancreatic carcinogenesis, we show that the in vivo early neo-expression of the mucin Muc4 in pancreatic intraepithelial neoplastic lesions (PanINs) induced by mutated K-ras is correlated with the activation of ERK, JNK and NF-κB signaling pathways. In vitro, transfection of constitutively activated K-rasG12V in pancreatic cancer cells led to the transcriptional upregulation of MUC4. This activation was found to be mediated at the transcriptional level by AP-1 and NF-κB transcription factors via MAPK, JNK and NF-κB pathways and at the posttranscriptional level by a mechanism involving the RalB GTPase. Altogether, these results identify MUC4 as a transcriptional and post-transcriptional target of K-ras in pancreatic cancer. This opens avenues in developing new approaches to target the early steps of this deadly cancer.

Dunne PD, Dasgupta S, Blayney JK, et al.
EphA2 Expression Is a Key Driver of Migration and Invasion and a Poor Prognostic Marker in Colorectal Cancer.
Clin Cancer Res. 2016; 22(1):230-242 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
PURPOSE: EphA2, a member of the Eph receptor tyrosine kinases family, is an important regulator of tumor initiation, neovascularization, and metastasis in a wide range of epithelial and mesenchymal cancers; however, its role in colorectal cancer recurrence and progression is unclear.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: EphA2 expression was determined by immunohistochemistry in stage II/III colorectal tumors (N = 338), and findings correlated with clinical outcome. The correlation between EphA2 expression and stem cell markers CD44 and Lgr5 was examined. The role of EphA2 in migration/invasion was assessed using a panel of KRAS wild-type (WT) and mutant (MT) parental and invasive colorectal cancer cell line models.
RESULTS: Colorectal tumors displayed significantly higher expression levels of EphA2 compared with matched normal tissue, which positively correlated with high CD44 and Lgr5 expression levels. Moreover, high EphA2 mRNA and protein expression were found to be associated with poor overall survival in stage II/III colorectal cancer tissues, in both univariate and multivariate analyses. Preclinically, we found that EphA2 was highly expressed in KRASMT colorectal cancer cells and that EphA2 levels are regulated by the KRAS-driven MAPK and RalGDS-RalA pathways. Moreover, EphA2 levels were elevated in several invasive daughter cell lines, and downregulation of EphA2 using RNAi or recombinant EFNA1 suppressed migration and invasion of KRASMT colorectal cancer cells.
CONCLUSIONS: These data show that EpHA2 is a poor prognostic marker in stage II/III colorectal cancer, which may be due to its ability to promote cell migration and invasion, providing support for the further investigation of EphA2 as a novel prognostic biomarker and therapeutic target.

Wang CZ, Yuan P, Xu B, et al.
RLIP76 expression as a prognostic marker of breast cancer.
Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2015; 19(11):2105-11 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: RLIP (Ral-interacting protein)-76/RalBP11 (Ral-binding protein-1), a multifunctional protein and stress-inducible non-ABC transporter, have been proven to serve as a critical role in cancer development and progression; however, little is known about the pathological role of RLIP76 in breast cancer patients. The study aimed to determine the correlation between RLIP76 expression in breast cancer patient and clinical outcomes.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Using RT-PCR and Western blot, messenger RNA (mRNA) and protein expression of RLIP76 were determined in breast cancer and adjacent normal mammary tissues. The relationship of RLIP76 expression with clinical characteristics of 245 breast cancer patients was analyzed by immunohistochemistry.
RESULTS: In the present study, our results indicated that RLIP76 mRNA and protein were highly expressed in the breast cancer tissues while compared with adjacent normal mammary tissues and the correlation with RLIP76 protein expression was significantly associated with age (the non-ABC transporter, stage and the expression were significantly associated-T2 vs. T3-T4, p < 0.01), lymph node metastasis (N0-N1 vs. N2-N3, p < 0.01), and PR (positive vs. negative, p < 0.01) in breast cancer patients; furthermore, we also found that RLIP76 protein overexpression was an unfavorable prognostic factor in the patients suffered from breast cancer.
CONCLUSIONS: RLIP76 overexpression serves as an unfavorable prognostic biomarker in breast cancer patients.

Monot M, Erny A, Gineys B, et al.
Early Steps of Jaagsiekte Sheep Retrovirus-Mediated Cell Transformation Involve the Interaction between Env and the RALBP1 Cellular Protein.
J Virol. 2015; 89(16):8462-73 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
UNLABELLED: Ovine pulmonary adenocarcinoma is a naturally occurring lung cancer in sheep induced by the Jaagsiekte sheep retrovirus (JSRV). Its envelope glycoprotein (Env) carries oncogenic properties, and its expression is sufficient to induce in vitro cell transformation and in vivo lung adenocarcinoma. The identification of cellular partners of the JSRV envelope remains crucial for deciphering mechanisms leading to cell transformation. We initially identified RALBP1 (RalA binding protein 1; also known as RLIP76 or RIP), a cellular protein implicated in the ras pathway, as a partner of JSRV Env by yeast two-hybrid screening and confirmed formation of RALBP1/Env complexes in mammalian cells. Expression of the RALBP1 protein was repressed in tumoral lungs and in tumor-derived alveolar type II cells. Through its inhibition using specific small interfering RNA (siRNA), we showed that RALBP1 was involved in envelope-induced cell transformation and in modulation of the mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin)/p70S6K pathway by the retroviral envelope.
IMPORTANCE: JSRV-induced lung adenocarcinoma is of importance for the sheep industry. While the envelope has been reported as the oncogenic determinant of the virus, the cellular proteins directly interacting with Env are still not known. Our report on the formation of RALBP/Env complexes and the role of this interaction in cell transformation opens up a new hypothesis for the dysregulation observed upon virus infection in sheep.

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