Receptor tyrosine kinases-based autocrine loops largely contribute to activate the MAPK and PI3K/AKT pathways in melanoma. However, the molecular mechanisms involved in generating these autocrine loops are still largely unknown. In the present study, we examine the role of the transcription factor RUNX2 in the regulation of receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) expression in melanoma. We have demonstrated that RUNX2-deficient melanoma cells display a significant decrease in three receptor tyrosine kinases, EGFR, IGF-1R and PDGFRβ. In addition, we found co-expression of RUNX2 and another RTK, AXL, in both melanoma cells and melanoma patient samples. We observed a decrease in phosphoAKT2 (S474) and phosphoAKT (T308) levels when RUNX2 knock down resulted in significant RTK down regulation. Finally, we showed a dramatic up regulation of RUNX2 expression with concomitant up-regulation of EGFR, IGF-1R and AXL in melanoma cells resistant to the BRAF V600E inhibitor PLX4720. Taken together, our results strongly suggest that RUNX2 might be a key player in RTK-based autocrine loops and a mediator of resistance to BRAF V600E inhibitors involving RTK up regulation in melanoma.
Boregowda, Rajeev K; Medina, Daniel J; Markert, Elke; Bryan, Michael A; Chen, Wenjin; Chen, Suzie; Rabkin, Anna; Vido, Michael J; Gunderson, Samuel I; Chekmareva, Marina; Foran, David J; Lasfar, Ahmed; Goydos, James S; and Cohen-Solal, Karine A, "The transcription factor RUNX2 regulates receptor tyrosine kinase expression in melanoma." (2016). Department of Cancer Biology Faculty Papers. Paper 88.
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