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This article is the author's final published version in Biomolecules, Volume 13, Issue 12, December 2023, Article number 1741.

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Raf-1, a multifunctional kinase, regulates various cellular processes, including cell proliferation, apoptosis, and migration, by phosphorylating MAPK/ERK kinase and interacting with specific kinases. Cellular Raf-1 activity is intricately regulated through pathways involving the binding of regulatory proteins, direct phosphorylation, and the ubiquitin-proteasome axis. In this study, we demonstrate that PHI-1, an endogenous inhibitor of protein phosphatase-1 (PP1), plays a pivotal role in modulating Raf-1 proteostasis within cells. Knocking down endogenous PHI-1 in HEK293 cells using siRNA resulted in increased cell proliferation and reduced apoptosis. This heightened cell proliferation was accompanied by a 15-fold increase in ERK1/2 phosphorylation. Importantly, the observed ERK1/2 hyperphosphorylation was attributable to an upregulation of Raf-1 expression, rather than an increase in Ras levels, Raf-1 Ser338 phosphorylation, or B-Raf levels. The elevated Raf-1 expression, stemming from PHI-1 knockdown, enhanced EGF-induced ERK1/2 phosphorylation through MEK. Moreover, PHI-1 knockdown significantly contributed to Raf-1 protein stability without affecting Raf-1 mRNA levels. Conversely, ectopic PHI-1 expression suppressed Raf-1 protein levels in a manner that correlated with PHI-1's inhibitory potency. Inhibiting PP1 to mimic PHI-1's function using tautomycin led to a reduction in Raf-1 expression. In summary, our findings highlight that the PHI-1-PP1 signaling axis selectively governs Raf-1 proteostasis and cell survival signals.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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