Functional Interaction Between the Oncogenic Kinase NEK2 and Sam68 Promotes a Splicing Program Involved in Migration and Invasion in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer

Chiara Naro*, Federica Barbagallo, Cinzia Caggiano, Monica De Musso, Valentina Panzeri, Silvia Di Agostino, Maria Paola Paronetto, Claudio Sette*

*Corresponding author

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) represents the most aggressive breast cancer subtype. Poor prognosis in TNBC is partly due to lack of efficacious targeted therapy and high propensity to metastasize. Dysregulation of alternative splicing has recently emerged as a trait of TNBC, suggesting that unveiling the molecular mechanisms underlying its regulation could uncover new druggable cancer vulnerabilities. The oncogenic kinase NEK2 is significantly upregulated in TNBC and contributes to shaping their unique splicing profile. Herein, we found that NEK2 interacts with the RNA binding protein Sam68 in TNBC cells and that NEK2-mediated phosphorylation of Sam68 enhances its splicing activity. Genome-wide transcriptome analyses identified the splicing targets of Sam68 in TNBC cells and revealed a common set of exons that are co-regulated by NEK2. Functional annotation of splicing-regulated genes highlighted cell migration and spreading as biological processes regulated by Sam68. Accordingly, Sam68 depletion reduces TNBC cell migration and invasion, and these effects are potentiated by the concomitant inhibition of NEK2 activity. Our findings indicate that Sam68 and NEK2 functionally cooperate in the regulation of a splicing program that sustains the pro-metastatic features of TNBC cells.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalFrontiers in Oncology
Volume12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Keywords

  • breast cancer

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