Functional proteomics interrogation of the kinome identifies MRCKA as a therapeutic target in high-grade serous ovarian carcinoma

Sci Signal. 2020 Feb 18;13(619):eaax8238. doi: 10.1126/scisignal.aax8238.


High-grade serous ovarian carcinoma (HGSOC) is the most lethal gynecological cancer with few effective, targeted therapies. HGSOC tumors exhibit genomic instability with frequent alterations in the protein kinome; however, only a small fraction of the kinome has been therapeutically targeted in HGSOC. Using multiplexed inhibitor beads and mass spectrometry, we mapped the kinome landscape of HGSOC tumors from patients and patient-derived xenograft models. The data revealed a prevalent signature consisting of established HGSOC driver kinases, as well as several kinases previously unexplored in HGSOC. Loss-of-function analysis of these kinases in HGSOC cells indicated MRCKA (also known as CDC42BPA) as a putative therapeutic target. Characterization of the effects of MRCKA knockdown in established HGSOC cell lines demonstrated that MRCKA was integral to signaling that regulated the cell cycle checkpoint, focal adhesion, and actin remodeling, as well as cell migration, proliferation, and survival. Moreover, inhibition of MRCKA using the small-molecule BDP9066 decreased cell proliferation and spheroid formation and induced apoptosis in HGSOC cells, suggesting that MRCKA may be a promising therapeutic target for the treatment of HGSOC.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Movement / genetics
  • Cell Proliferation / genetics
  • Cystadenocarcinoma, Serous / drug therapy*
  • Cystadenocarcinoma, Serous / genetics
  • Cystadenocarcinoma, Serous / metabolism
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Mass Spectrometry / methods
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy / methods
  • Myotonin-Protein Kinase / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Myotonin-Protein Kinase / genetics
  • Myotonin-Protein Kinase / metabolism
  • Neoplasm Grading
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / genetics
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Protein Kinases / genetics
  • Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Proteomics / methods*
  • RNA Interference
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Signal Transduction / genetics


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Protein Kinases
  • CDC42BPA protein, human
  • Myotonin-Protein Kinase