Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is driven by co-existing mutations in KRAS and TP53. However, how these mutations collaborate to promote this cancer is unknown. Here, we uncover sequence-specific changes in RNA splicing enforced by mutant p53 which enhance KRAS activity. Mutant p53 increases expression of splicing regulator hnRNPK to promote inclusion of cytosine-rich exons within GTPase-activating proteins (GAPs), negative regulators of RAS family members. Mutant p53-enforced GAP isoforms lose cell membrane association, leading to heightened KRAS activity. Preventing cytosine-rich exon inclusion in mutant KRAS/p53 PDACs decreases tumor growth. Moreover, mutant p53 PDACs are sensitized to inhibition of splicing via spliceosome inhibitors. These data provide insight into co-enrichment of KRAS and p53 mutations and therapeutics targeting this mechanism in PDAC.
Keywords: GAP17; GTPase signaling; KRAS; RNA splicing; SF3B1; hnRNPK; oncogenes; p53; pancreatic cancer; splicing inhibitors.
Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Inc.