hnRNPM guides an alternative splicing program in response to inhibition of the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway in Ewing sarcoma cells

Nucleic Acids Res. 2017 Dec 1;45(21):12270-12284. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkx831.


Ewing sarcomas (ES) are biologically aggressive tumors of bone and soft tissues for which no cure is currently available. Most ES patients do not respond to chemotherapeutic treatments or acquire resistance. Since the PI3K/AKT/mTOR axis is often deregulated in ES, its inhibition offers therapeutic perspective for these aggressive tumors. Herein, by using splicing sensitive arrays, we have uncovered an extensive splicing program activated upon inhibition of the PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling pathway by BEZ235. Bioinformatics analyses identified hnRNPM as a key factor in this response. HnRNPM motifs were significantly enriched in introns flanking the regulated exons and proximity of binding represented a key determinant for hnRNPM-dependent splicing regulation. Knockdown of hnRNPM expression abolished a subset of BEZ235-induced splicing changes that contained hnRNPM binding sites, enhanced BEZ235 cytotoxicity and limited the clonogenicity of ES cells. Importantly, hnRNPM up-regulation correlates with poor outcome in sarcoma patients. These findings uncover an hnRNPM-dependent alternative splicing program set in motion by inhibition of the mTOR/AKT/PI3K pathway in ES cells that limits therapeutic efficacy of pharmacologic inhibitors, suggesting that combined inhibition of the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway and hnRNPM activity may represent a novel approach for ES treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Alternative Splicing*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Bone Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Bone Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Bone Neoplasms / pathology
  • Cell Line
  • Exons
  • Heterogeneous-Nuclear Ribonucleoprotein Group M / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Imidazoles
  • Nucleotide Motifs
  • Phosphoinositide-3 Kinase Inhibitors
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Quinolines
  • Sarcoma, Ewing / genetics*
  • Sarcoma, Ewing / metabolism
  • Sarcoma, Ewing / pathology
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects*
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Transcriptome


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • HNRNPM protein, human
  • Heterogeneous-Nuclear Ribonucleoprotein Group M
  • Imidazoles
  • Phosphoinositide-3 Kinase Inhibitors
  • Quinolines
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • dactolisib