Identification of the Wallenda JNKKK as an Alk suppressor reveals increased competitiveness of Alk-expressing cells

Sci Rep. 2020 Sep 11;10(1):14954. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-70890-6.

Abstract

Anaplastic lymphoma kinase (Alk) is a receptor tyrosine kinase of the insulin receptor super-family that functions as oncogenic driver in a range of human cancers such as neuroblastoma. In order to investigate mechanisms underlying Alk oncogenic signaling, we conducted a genetic suppressor screen in Drosophila melanogaster. Our screen identified multiple loci important for Alk signaling, including members of Ras/Raf/ERK-, Pi3K-, and STAT-pathways as well as tailless (tll) and foxo whose orthologues NR2E1/TLX and FOXO3 are transcription factors implicated in human neuroblastoma. Many of the identified suppressors were also able to modulate signaling output from activated oncogenic variants of human ALK, suggesting that our screen identified targets likely relevant in a wide range of contexts. Interestingly, two misexpression alleles of wallenda (wnd, encoding a leucine zipper bearing kinase similar to human DLK and LZK) were among the strongest suppressors. We show that Alk expression leads to a growth advantage and induces cell death in surrounding cells. Our results suggest that Alk activity conveys a competitive advantage to cells, which can be reversed by over-expression of the JNK kinase kinase Wnd.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anaplastic Lymphoma Kinase / genetics
  • Anaplastic Lymphoma Kinase / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Cell Death
  • Drosophila Proteins / genetics
  • Drosophila Proteins / metabolism*
  • Drosophila melanogaster
  • Humans
  • MAP Kinase Kinase Kinases / genetics
  • MAP Kinase Kinase Kinases / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction*

Substances

  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Anaplastic Lymphoma Kinase
  • MAP Kinase Kinase Kinases
  • wnd protein, Drosophila