An AMPK-independent signaling pathway downstream of the LKB1 tumor suppressor controls Snail1 and metastatic potential

Mol Cell. 2014 Aug 7;55(3):436-50. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2014.06.021. Epub 2014 Jul 17.

Abstract

The serine/threonine kinase LKB1 is a tumor suppressor whose loss is associated with increased metastatic potential. In an effort to define biochemical signatures of metastasis associated with LKB1 loss, we discovered that the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition transcription factor Snail1 was uniquely upregulated upon LKB1 deficiency across cell types. The ability of LKB1 to suppress Snail1 levels was independent of AMPK but required the related kinases MARK1 and MARK4. In a screen for substrates of these kinases involved in Snail regulation, we identified the scaffolding protein DIXDC1. Similar to loss of LKB1, DIXDC1 depletion results in upregulation of Snail1 in a FAK-dependent manner, leading to increased cell invasion. MARK1 phosphorylation of DIXDC1 is required for its localization to focal adhesions and ability to suppress metastasis in mice. DIXDC1 is frequently downregulated in human cancers, which correlates with poor survival. This study defines an AMPK-independent phosphorylation cascade essential for LKB1-dependent control of metastatic behavior.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition / genetics
  • Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition / physiology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / chemistry*
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / genetics
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / metabolism*
  • Lung Neoplasms
  • Mice
  • Microfilament Proteins / chemistry*
  • Microfilament Proteins / genetics
  • Microfilament Proteins / metabolism*
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness / genetics*
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness / pathology
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / genetics
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Snail Family Transcription Factors
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism

Substances

  • DIXDC1 protein, human
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Microfilament Proteins
  • SNAI1 protein, human
  • Snai1 protein, mouse
  • Snail Family Transcription Factors
  • Transcription Factors
  • MARK1 protein, human
  • MARK4 protein, human
  • STK11 protein, human
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinases