Rio kinases are atypical serine/threonine kinases that emerge as potential cooperation partners in Ras-driven tumors. In the current study, we performed an RNAi screen in Caenorhabditis elegans to identify suppressors of oncogenic Ras signaling. Aberrant Ras/Raf signaling in C. elegans leads to the formation of a multi-vulva (Muv) phenotype. We found that depletion of riok-1, the C. elegans orthologue of the mammalian RioK1, suppressed the Muv phenotype. By using a promoter GFP construct, we could show that riok-1 is expressed in neuronal cells, the somatic gonad, the vulva, the uterus and the spermatheca. Furthermore, we observed developmental defects in the gonad upon riok-1 knockdown in a wildtype background. Our data suggest that riok-1 is a modulator of the Ras signaling pathway, suggesting implications for novel interventions in the context of Ras-driven tumors.
Keywords: Gonad development; LET-60; Multi-vulva phenotype; RIOK-1; RNAi screen; Vulval development.
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