Focal adhesion kinase (FAK) regulates cell adhesion, migration, proliferation, and survival. We identified a novel splicing mutant, FAK-Del33 (exon 33 deletion, KF437463), in both breast and thyroid cancers through colony sequencing. Considering the low proportion of mutant transcripts in samples, this mutation was detected by TaqMan-MGB probes based qPCR. In total, three in 21 paired breast tissues were identified with the FAK-Del33 mutation, and no mutations were found in the corresponding normal tissues. When introduced into a breast cell line through lentivirus infection, FAK-Del33 regulated cell motility and migration based on a wound healing assay. We demonstrated that the expression of Tyr397 (main auto-phosphorylation of FAK) was strongly increased in FAK-Del33 overexpressed breast tumor cells compared to wild-type following FAK/Src RTK signaling activation. These results suggest a novel and unique role of the FAK-Del33 mutation in FAK/Src signaling in breast cancer with significant implications for metastatic potential.
Keywords: Breast cancer; Focal adhesion kinase (FAK); Migration; Signal pathway; Splicing mutant; c-Src.
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