Gene Summary

Gene:FER; FER tyrosine kinase
Aliases: TYK3, PPP1R74, p94-Fer
Summary:The protein encoded by this gene is a member of the FPS/FES family of non-transmembrane receptor tyrosine kinases. It regulates cell-cell adhesion and mediates signaling from the cell surface to the cytoskeleton via growth factor receptors. Alternative splicing results in multiple transcript variants. A related pseudogene has been identified on chromosome X. [provided by RefSeq, Apr 2015]
Databases:OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:tyrosine-protein kinase Fer
Source:NCBIAccessed: 01 September, 2019


What does this gene/protein do?
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Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1994-2019)
Graph generated 01 September 2019 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

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Tag cloud generated 01 September, 2019 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (4)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: FER (cancer-related)

Fei D, Zhang X, Liu J, et al.
Long Noncoding RNA FER1L4 Suppresses Tumorigenesis by Regulating the Expression of PTEN Targeting miR-18a-5p in Osteosarcoma.
Cell Physiol Biochem. 2018; 51(3):1364-1375 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND/AIMS: Novel long non-coding RNA Fer-1-like protein 4 (FER1L4) has been reported to play crucial regulatory roles in tumor progression. However, its clinical significance and biological role in osteosarcoma (OS) is completely unknown. The aim of the present study was to investigate the role of FER1L4 in OS progression and the underlying mechanism.
METHODS: We analyzed the expression levels of FER1L4 in tissues of OS patients and cell lines via quantitative RT-PCR (qRT-PCR). The effect of FER1L4 on cell proliferation, colony formation, migration and invasion was analyzed by cell counting kit-8 (CCK-8), colony formation, wound healing and transwell invasion assay, respectively. Novel targets of FER1L4 were selected through a bioinformatics soft and confirmed using a dual-luciferase reporter system and qRT-PCR. To detect the role of FER1L4 in vivo tumorigenesis, tumor xenografts were created.
RESULTS: We found that the expression of FER1L4 was significantly downregulated in OS tissues and cell lines; moreover, low expression of FER1L4 was associated with advanced tumor-nude-metastasis (TNM) stage, lymph node metastases, and poor overall survival. Functional assays showed that upregulation of FER1L4 significantly inhibited OS cell proliferation, colony formation, migration, and invasion in vitro, as well as suppressed tumor growth in vivo. Assays performed to determine the underlying mechanism, indicated that FER1L4 interacted directly with miR-18a-5p. Subsequently, we found that FER1L4 significantly increased PTEN expression, a known target of miR-18a-5p, in OS cells. Furthermore, PTEN was found to be down-regulated, and positively correlated with FER1L4 in OS tissues.
CONCLUSION: These findings suggest that FER1L4, acting as a competing endogenous RNA (ceRNA) of miR-18a-5p, exerts its anti-cancer role by modulating the expression of PTEN. Thus, FER1L4 may be a novel target for the prevention and treatment of OS.

Fathi NN, Mohammad DK, Görgens A, et al.
Translocation-generated ITK-FER and ITK-SYK fusions induce STAT3 phosphorylation and CD69 expression.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2018; 504(4):749-752 [PubMed] Related Publications
Many cancer types carry mutations in protein tyrosine kinase (PTK) and such alterations frequently drive tumor progression. One category is gene translocation of PTKs yielding chimeric proteins with transforming capacity. In this study, we characterized the role of ITK-FER [Interleukin-2-inducible T-cell Kinase (ITK) gene fused with Feline Encephalitis Virus-Related kinase (FER) gene] and ITK-SYK [Interleukin-2-inducible T-cell Kinase (ITK) gene fused with the Spleen Tyrosine Kinase (SYK)] in Peripheral T Cell Lymphoma (PTCL) signaling. We observed an induction of tyrosine phosphorylation events in the presence of both ITK-FER and ITK-SYK. The downstream targets of ITK-FER and ITK-SYK were explored and STAT3 was found to be highly phosphorylated by these fusion kinases. In addition, the CD69 T-cell activation marker was significantly elevated. Apart from tyrosine kinase inhibitors acting directly on the fusions, we believe that drugs acting on downstream targets could serve as alternative cancer therapies for fusion PTKs.

Wu J, Huang J, Wang W, et al.
Long non-coding RNA Fer-1-like protein 4 acts as a tumor suppressor via miR-106a-5p and predicts good prognosis in hepatocellular carcinoma.
Cancer Biomark. 2017; 20(1):55-65 [PubMed] Related Publications
Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are aberrantly expressed in various cancers. Fer-1-like protein 4 (FER1L4), one of lncRNAs, plays a role as tumor suppressor in various human cancers and can be regulated by microRNA. However, the role and function of FER1L4 in human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) remains unknown. The aim of the present study was to annotate the role of FER1L4 and its clinical value in HCC. In the present study, we found that FER1L4 was lowly expressed in HCC tissue specimens as well as in malignant HCC cell lines, while the situation is opposite in miR-106a-5p. We found that down-regulated FER1L4 increased the expression of miR-106a-5p significantly and there was a reciprocal repression between FER1L4 and miR-106a-5p. Moreover, we identified FER1L4 as a target of miR-106a-5p by using dual-luciferase reporter assay. Knockdown of FER1L4 promoted the malignancy of HCC cells, including proliferation, migration, and invasion, and inhibited cell apoptosis. We also found that FER1L4 functions as a tumor suppressor in vivo. Together, these results suggest that FER1L4 could exert a tumor suppressive impact on HCC, which at least, in part, through suppressing miR-106a-5p expression. FER1L4, as well as miR-106a-5p, can predict the clinical prognosis of HCC alone or combined, which may be a novel therapeutic target for treating HCC.

Walker AJ, Majzner RG, Zhang L, et al.
Tumor Antigen and Receptor Densities Regulate Efficacy of a Chimeric Antigen Receptor Targeting Anaplastic Lymphoma Kinase.
Mol Ther. 2017; 25(9):2189-2201 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
We explored the utility of targeting anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK), a cell surface receptor overexpressed on pediatric solid tumors, using chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-based immunotherapy. T cells expressing a CAR incorporating the single-chain variable fragment sequence of the ALK48 mAb linked to a 4-1BB-CD3ζ signaling domain lysed ALK-expressing tumor lines and produced interferon-gamma upon antigen stimulation but had limited anti-tumor efficacy in two xenograft models of human neuroblastoma. Further exploration demonstrated that cytokine production was highly dependent upon ALK target density and that target density of ALK on neuroblastoma cell lines was insufficient for maximal activation of CAR T cells. In addition, ALK CAR T cells demonstrated rapid and complete antigen-induced loss of receptor from the T cell surface via internalization. Using a model that simultaneously modulated antigen density and CAR expression, we demonstrated that CAR functionality is regulated by target antigen and CAR density and that low expression of either contributes to limited anti-tumor efficacy of the ALK CAR. These data suggest that stoichiometric relationships between CAR receptors and target antigens may significantly impact the anti-tumor efficacy of CAR T cells and that manipulation of these parameters could allow precise tuning of CAR T cell activity.

Probst L, Dächert J, Schenk B, Fulda S
Lipoxygenase inhibitors protect acute lymphoblastic leukemia cells from ferroptotic cell death.
Biochem Pharmacol. 2017; 140:41-52 [PubMed] Related Publications
Ferroptosis has recently been identified as a mode of programmed cell death. However, little is yet known about the signaling mechanism. Here, we report that lipoxygenases (LOX) contribute to the regulation of RSL3-induced ferroptosis in acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) cells. We show that the glutathione (GSH) peroxidase 4 (GPX4) inhibitor RSL3 triggers lipid peroxidation, production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and cell death in ALL cells. All these events are impeded in the presence of Ferrostatin-1 (Fer-1), a small-molecule inhibitor of lipid peroxidation. Also, lipid peroxidation and ROS production precede the induction of cell death, underscoring their contribution to cell death upon exposure to RSL3. Importantly, LOX inhibitors, including the selective 12/15-LOX inhibitor Baicalein and the pan-LOX inhibitor nordihydroguaiaretic acid (NDGA), protect ALL cells from RSL3-stimulated lipid peroxidation, ROS generation and cell death, indicating that LOX contribute to ferroptosis. RSL3 triggers lipid peroxidation and cell death also in FAS-associated Death Domain (FADD)-deficient cells which are resistant to death receptor-induced apoptosis indicating that the induction of ferroptosis may bypass apoptosis resistance. By providing new insights into the molecular regulation of ferroptosis, our study contributes to the development of novel treatment strategies to reactivate programmed cell death in ALL.

Chen ZH, Yu YP, Zuo ZH, et al.
Targeting genomic rearrangements in tumor cells through Cas9-mediated insertion of a suicide gene.
Nat Biotechnol. 2017; 35(6):543-550 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Specifically targeting genomic rearrangements and mutations in tumor cells remains an elusive goal in cancer therapy. Here, we used Cas9-based genome editing to introduce the gene encoding the prodrug-converting enzyme herpes simplex virus type 1 thymidine kinase (HSV1-tk) into the genomes of cancer cells carrying unique sequences resulting from genome rearrangements. Specifically, we targeted the breakpoints of TMEM135-CCDC67 and MAN2A1-FER fusions in human prostate cancer or hepatocellular carcinoma cells in vitro and in mouse xenografts. We designed one adenovirus to deliver the nickase Cas9

Chen ZH, Yu YP, Tao J, et al.
MAN2A1-FER Fusion Gene Is Expressed by Human Liver and Other Tumor Types and Has Oncogenic Activity in Mice.
Gastroenterology. 2017; 153(4):1120-1132.e15 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND & AIMS: Human tumors and liver cancer cell lines express the product of a fusion between the first 13 exons in the mannosidase α class 2A member 1 gene (MAN2A1) and the last 6 exons in the FER tyrosine kinase gene (FER), called MAN2A1-FER. We investigated whether MAN2A1-FER is expressed by human liver tumors and its role in liver carcinogenesis.
METHODS: We performed reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction analyses of 102 non-small cell lung tumors, 61 ovarian tumors, 70 liver tumors, 156 glioblastoma multiform samples, 27 esophageal adenocarcinomas, and 269 prostate cancer samples, as well as 10 nontumor liver tissues and 20 nontumor prostate tissues, collected at the University of Pittsburgh. We also measured expression by 15 human cancer cell lines. We expressed a tagged form of MAN2A1-FER in NIH3T3 and HEP3B (liver cancer) cells; Golgi were isolated for analysis. MAN2A1-FER was also overexpressed in PC3 or DU145 (prostate cancer), NIH3T3 (fibroblast), H23 (lung cancer), and A-172 (glioblastoma multiforme) cell lines and knocked out in HUH7 (liver cancer) cells. Cells were analyzed for proliferation and in invasion assays, and/or injected into flanks of severe combined immunodeficient mice; xenograft tumor growth and metastasis were assessed. Mice with hepatic deletion of PTEN were given tail-vein injections of MAN2A1-FER.
RESULTS: We detected MAN2A1-FER messenger RNA and fusion protein (114 kD) in the hepatocellular carcinoma cell line HUH7, as well as in liver tumors, esophageal adenocarcinoma, glioblastoma multiforme, prostate tumors, non-small cell lung tumors, and ovarian tumors, but not nontumor prostate or liver tissues. MAN2A1-FER protein retained the signal peptide for Golgi localization from MAN2A1 and translocated from the cytoplasm to Golgi in cancer cell lines. MAN2A1-FER had tyrosine kinase activity almost 4-fold higher than that of wild-type FER, and phosphorylated the epidermal growth factor receptor at tyrosine 88 in its N-terminus. Expression of MAN2A1-FER in 4 cell lines led to epidermal growth factor receptor activation of BRAF, MEK, and AKT; HUH7 cells with MAN2A1-FER knockout had significant decreases in phosphorylation of these proteins. Cell lines that expressed MAN2A1-FER had increased proliferation, colony formation, and invasiveness and formed larger (>2-fold) xenograft tumors in mice, with more metastases, than cells not expressing the fusion protein. HUH7 cells with MAN2A1-FER knockout formed smaller xenograft tumors, with fewer metastases, than control HUH7 cells. HUH7, A-172, and PC3 cells that expressed MAN2A1-FER were about 2-fold more sensitive to the FER kinase inhibitor crizotinib and the epidermal growth factor receptor kinase inhibitor canertinib; these drugs slowed growth of xenograft tumors from MAN2A1-FER cells and prevented their metastasis in mice. Hydrodynamic tail-vein injection of MAN2A1-FER resulted in rapid development of liver cancer in mice with hepatic disruption of Pten.
CONCLUSIONS: Many human tumor types and cancer cell lines express the MAN2A1-FER fusion, which increases proliferation and invasiveness of cancer cell lines and has liver oncogenic activity in mice.

Dächert J, Schoeneberger H, Rohde K, Fulda S
RSL3 and Erastin differentially regulate redox signaling to promote Smac mimetic-induced cell death.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(39):63779-63792 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Redox mechanisms play an important role in the control of various signaling pathways. Here, we report that Second mitochondrial activator of caspases (Smac) mimetic-induced cell death is regulated by redox signaling. We show that RSL3, a glutathione (GSH) peroxidase (GPX) 4 inhibitor, or Erastin, an inhibitor of the cystine/glutamate antiporter, cooperate with the Smac mimetic BV6 to induce reactive oxygen species (ROS)-dependent cell death in acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) cells. Addition of the caspase inhibitor N-benzyloxycarbonyl-Val-Ala-Asp-fluoromethylketone (zVAD.fmk) fails to rescue ROS-induced cell death, demonstrating that RSL3/BV6- or Erastin/BV6-induced cell death occurs in a caspase-independent manner. Interestingly, the iron chelator Deferoxamine (DFO) significantly inhibits RSL3/BV6-induced cell death, whereas it is unable to rescue cell death by Erastin/BV6, showing that RSL3/BV6-, but not Erastin/BV6-mediated cell death depends on iron. ROS production is required for both RSL3/BV6- and Erastin/BV6-induced cell death, since the ROS scavenger α-tocopherol (α-Toc) rescues RSL3/BV6- and Erastin/BV6-induced cell death. By comparison, genetic or pharmacological inhibition of lipid peroxidation by GPX4 overexpression or ferrostatin (Fer)-1 significantly decreases RSL3/BV6-, but not Erastin/BV6-induced cell death, despite inhibition of lipid peroxidation upon exposure to RSL3/BV6 or Erastin/BV6. Of note, inhibition of lipid peroxidation by Fer-1 protects from RSL3/BV6-, but not from Erastin/BV6-stimulated ROS production, indicating that other forms of ROS besides lipophilic ROS occur during Erastin/BV6-induced cell death. Taken together, RSL3/BV6 and Erastin/BV6 differentially regulate redox signaling and cell death in ALL cells. While RSL3/BV6 cotreatment induces ferroptotic cell death, Erastin/BV6 stimulates oxidative cell death independently of iron. These findings have important implications for the therapeutic targeting of redox signaling to enhance Smac mimetic-induced cell death in ALL.

Rugo HS, Olopade OI, DeMichele A, et al.
Adaptive Randomization of Veliparib-Carboplatin Treatment in Breast Cancer.
N Engl J Med. 2016; 375(1):23-34 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The genetic and clinical heterogeneity of breast cancer makes the identification of effective therapies challenging. We designed I-SPY 2, a phase 2, multicenter, adaptively randomized trial to screen multiple experimental regimens in combination with standard neoadjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer. The goal is to match experimental regimens with responding cancer subtypes. We report results for veliparib, a poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitor, combined with carboplatin.
METHODS: In this ongoing trial, women are eligible for participation if they have stage II or III breast cancer with a tumor 2.5 cm or larger in diameter; cancers are categorized into eight biomarker subtypes on the basis of status with regard to human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2), hormone receptors, and a 70-gene assay. Patients undergo adaptive randomization within each biomarker subtype to receive regimens that have better performance than the standard therapy. Regimens are evaluated within 10 biomarker signatures (i.e., prospectively defined combinations of biomarker subtypes). Veliparib-carboplatin plus standard therapy was considered for HER2-negative tumors and was therefore evaluated in 3 signatures. The primary end point is pathological complete response. Tumor volume changes measured by magnetic resonance imaging during treatment are used to predict whether a patient will have a pathological complete response. Regimens move on from phase 2 if and when they have a high Bayesian predictive probability of success in a subsequent phase 3 neoadjuvant trial within the biomarker signature in which they performed well.
RESULTS: With regard to triple-negative breast cancer, veliparib-carboplatin had an 88% predicted probability of success in a phase 3 trial. A total of 72 patients were randomly assigned to receive veliparib-carboplatin, and 44 patients were concurrently assigned to receive control therapy; at the completion of chemotherapy, the estimated rates of pathological complete response in the triple-negative population were 51% (95% Bayesian probability interval [PI], 36 to 66%) in the veliparib-carboplatin group versus 26% (95% PI, 9 to 43%) in the control group. The toxicity of veliparib-carboplatin was greater than that of the control.
CONCLUSIONS: The process used in our trial showed that veliparib-carboplatin added to standard therapy resulted in higher rates of pathological complete response than standard therapy alone specifically in triple-negative breast cancer. (Funded by the QuantumLeap Healthcare Collaborative and others; I-SPY 2 TRIAL ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01042379.).

Park JW, Liu MC, Yee D, et al.
Adaptive Randomization of Neratinib in Early Breast Cancer.
N Engl J Med. 2016; 375(1):11-22 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The heterogeneity of breast cancer makes identifying effective therapies challenging. The I-SPY 2 trial, a multicenter, adaptive phase 2 trial of neoadjuvant therapy for high-risk clinical stage II or III breast cancer, evaluated multiple new agents added to standard chemotherapy to assess the effects on rates of pathological complete response (i.e., absence of residual cancer in the breast or lymph nodes at the time of surgery).
METHODS: We used adaptive randomization to compare standard neoadjuvant chemotherapy plus the tyrosine kinase inhibitor neratinib with control. Eligible women were categorized according to eight biomarker subtypes on the basis of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) status, hormone-receptor status, and risk according to a 70-gene profile. Neratinib was evaluated against control with regard to 10 biomarker signatures (prospectively defined combinations of subtypes). The primary end point was pathological complete response. Volume changes on serial magnetic resonance imaging were used to assess the likelihood of such a response in each patient. Adaptive assignment to experimental groups within each disease subtype was based on Bayesian probabilities of the superiority of the treatment over control. Enrollment in the experimental group was stopped when the 85% Bayesian predictive probability of success in a confirmatory phase 3 trial of neoadjuvant therapy reached a prespecified threshold for any biomarker signature ("graduation"). Enrollment was stopped for futility if the probability fell to below 10% for every biomarker signature.
RESULTS: Neratinib reached the prespecified efficacy threshold with regard to the HER2-positive, hormone-receptor-negative signature. Among patients with HER2-positive, hormone-receptor-negative cancer, the mean estimated rate of pathological complete response was 56% (95% Bayesian probability interval [PI], 37 to 73%) among 115 patients in the neratinib group, as compared with 33% among 78 controls (95% PI, 11 to 54%). The final predictive probability of success in phase 3 testing was 79%.
CONCLUSIONS: Neratinib added to standard therapy was highly likely to result in higher rates of pathological complete response than standard chemotherapy with trastuzumab among patients with HER2-positive, hormone-receptor-negative breast cancer. (Funded by QuantumLeap Healthcare Collaborative and others; I-SPY 2 TRIAL ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01042379.).

Fan G, Zhang S, Gao Y, et al.
HGF-independent regulation of MET and GAB1 by nonreceptor tyrosine kinase FER potentiates metastasis in ovarian cancer.
Genes Dev. 2016; 30(13):1542-57 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Ovarian cancer cells disseminate readily within the peritoneal cavity, which promotes metastasis, and are often resistant to chemotherapy. Ovarian cancer patients tend to present with advanced disease, which also limits treatment options; consequently, new therapies are required. The oncoprotein tyrosine kinase MET, which is the receptor for hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), has been implicated in ovarian tumorigenesis and has been the subject of extensive drug development efforts. Here, we report a novel ligand- and autophosphorylation-independent activation of MET through the nonreceptor tyrosine kinase feline sarcoma-related (FER). We demonstrated that the levels of FER were elevated in ovarian cancer cell lines relative to those in immortalized normal surface epithelial cells and that suppression of FER attenuated the motility and invasive properties of these cancer cells. Furthermore, loss of FER impaired the metastasis of ovarian cancer cells in vivo. Mechanistically, we demonstrated that FER phosphorylated a signaling site in MET: Tyr1349. This enhanced activation of RAC1/PAK1 and promoted a kinase-independent scaffolding function that led to recruitment and phosphorylation of GAB1 and the specific activation of the SHP2-ERK signaling pathway. Overall, this analysis provides new insights into signaling events that underlie metastasis in ovarian cancer cells, consistent with a prometastatic role of FER and highlighting its potential as a novel therapeutic target for metastatic ovarian cancer.

Boddicker RL, Razidlo GL, Dasari S, et al.
Integrated mate-pair and RNA sequencing identifies novel, targetable gene fusions in peripheral T-cell lymphoma.
Blood. 2016; 128(9):1234-45 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Peripheral T-cell lymphomas (PTCLs) represent a heterogeneous group of T-cell malignancies that generally demonstrate aggressive clinical behavior, often are refractory to standard therapy, and remain significantly understudied. The most common World Health Organization subtype is PTCL, not otherwise specified (NOS), essentially a "wastebasket" category because of inadequate understanding to assign cases to a more specific diagnostic entity. Identification of novel fusion genes has contributed significantly to improving the classification, biologic understanding, and therapeutic targeting of PTCLs. Here, we integrated mate-pair DNA and RNA next-generation sequencing to identify chromosomal rearrangements encoding expressed fusion transcripts in PTCL, NOS. Two of 11 cases had novel fusions involving VAV1, encoding a truncated form of the VAV1 guanine nucleotide exchange factor important in T-cell receptor signaling. Fluorescence in situ hybridization studies identified VAV1 rearrangements in 10 of 148 PTCLs (7%). These were observed exclusively in PTCL, NOS (11%) and anaplastic large cell lymphoma (11%). In vitro, ectopic expression of a VAV1 fusion promoted cell growth and migration in a RAC1-dependent manner. This growth was inhibited by azathioprine, a clinically available RAC1 inhibitor. We also identified novel kinase gene fusions, ITK-FER and IKZF2-ERBB4, as candidate therapeutic targets that show similarities to known recurrent oncogenic ITK-SYK fusions and ERBB4 transcript variants in PTCLs, respectively. Additional novel and potentially clinically relevant fusions also were discovered. Together, these findings identify VAV1 fusions as recurrent and targetable events in PTCLs and highlight the potential for clinical sequencing to guide individualized therapy approaches for this group of aggressive malignancies.

Polley E, Kunkel M, Evans D, et al.
Small Cell Lung Cancer Screen of Oncology Drugs, Investigational Agents, and Gene and microRNA Expression.
J Natl Cancer Inst. 2016; 108(10) [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Small cell lung carcinoma (SCLC) is an aggressive, recalcitrant cancer, often metastatic at diagnosis and unresponsive to chemotherapy upon recurrence, thus it is challenging to treat.
METHODS: Sixty-three human SCLC lines and three NSCLC lines were screened for response to 103 US Food and Drug Administration-approved oncology agents and 423 investigational agents. The investigational agents library was a diverse set of small molecules that included multiple compounds targeting the same molecular entity. The compounds were screened in triplicate at nine concentrations with a 96-hour exposure time using an ATP Lite endpoint. Gene expression was assessed by exon array, and microRNA expression was derived by direct digital detection. Activity across the SCLC lines was associated with molecular characteristics using pair-wise Pearson correlations.
RESULTS: Results are presented for inhibitors of targets: BCL2, PARP1, mTOR, IGF1R, KSP/Eg5, PLK-1, AURK, and FGFR1. A relational map identified compounds with similar patterns of response. Unsupervised microRNA clustering resulted in three distinct SCLC subgroups. Associating drug response with micro-RNA expression indicated that lines most sensitive to etoposide and topotecan expressed high miR-200c-3p and low miR-140-5p and miR-9-5p. The BCL-2/BCL-XL inhibitors produced similar response patterns. Sensitivity to ABT-737 correlated with higher ASCL1 and BCL2. Several classes of compounds targeting nuclear proteins regulating mitosis produced a response pattern distinct from the etoposide response pattern.
CONCLUSIONS: Agents targeting nuclear kinases appear to be effective in SCLC lines. Confirmation of SCLC line findings in xenografts is needed. The drug and compound response, gene expression, and microRNA expression data are publicly available at http://sclccelllines.cancer.gov.

Ortiz-Martínez F, Gutiérrez-Aviñó FJ, Sanmartín E, et al.
Association of Notch pathway down-regulation with Triple Negative/Basal-like breast carcinomas and high tumor-infiltrating FOXP3+ Tregs.
Exp Mol Pathol. 2016; 100(3):460-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
T regulatory cells (Tregs) are a lineage of lymphocytes involved in immune response suppression that are characterized by the expression of the forkhead box P3 (FOXP3) transcription factor. Notch pathway regulates FOXP3 transcription in Tregs, but its role in breast cancer is unknown. We aimed at studying whether Notch pathway regulates FOXP3 expression and Tregs content in breast cancer, and its association with luminal breast carcinomas. We analyzed by quantitative Real-Time PCR the mRNA levels of FOXP3, Notch pathway genes (Notch1, Notch2, Notch4 and Jagged1) and STAT3 in a series of 152 breast carcinomas including hormone receptor-positive and -negative phenotypes (luminal and Triple Negative/Basal-like). We also studied the protein expression of Notch1, STAT3 and FOXP3 by immunohistochemistry. High FOXP3 mRNA levels correlated with larger tumor size (p=0.010), histological grade 3 (p=0.008) and positive lymph-node status (p=0.031). Also, low levels of Notch pathway genes mRNA correlated with poor prognostic factors such as larger tumor size, positive lymph-node status, tumor phenotype and infiltrating tumor Tregs. A survival analysis for the patients showed that large tumor size, histological grade 3, vascular invasion, infiltrating Tregs and low Notch1 mRNA expression were significantly associated with a decreased patients' overall survival (p≤0.05). On a multivariate analysis, high Tregs content (HR=3.00, 95% CI 1.04-8.90, p=0.042) and low Notch1 mRNA levels (HR=3.33, 95% CI 1.02-10.86, p=0.046) were independent markers for overall survival. Our results support that the Notch pathway up-regulation promotes luminal breast carcinomas, whereas down-regulation correlates with the expression of FOXP3, favors tumor Tregs infiltration and associates with Triple Negative/Basal-like tumors.

Xia T, Chen S, Jiang Z, et al.
Long noncoding RNA FER1L4 suppresses cancer cell growth by acting as a competing endogenous RNA and regulating PTEN expression.
Sci Rep. 2015; 5:13445 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Aberrantly expressed long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) are associated with various cancers. However, the roles of lncRNAs in the pathogenesis of most cancers are unclear. Here, we report that the lncRNA FER1L4 (fer-1-like family member 4, pseudogene) acts as a competing endogenous RNA (ceRNA) to regulate the expression of PTEN (a well-known tumor suppressor gene) by taking up miR-106a-5p in gastric cancer. We observed that FER1L4 was downregulated in gastric cancer and that its level corresponded with that of PTEN mRNA. Both FER1L4 and PTEN mRNA were targets of miR-106a-5p. Further experiments demonstrated that FER1L4 downregulation liberates miR-106a-5p and decreases the abundances of PTEN mRNA and protein. More importantly, FER1L4 downregulation accelerated cell proliferation by promoting the G0/G1 to S phase transition. We conclude that one mechanism by which lncRNAs function in in tumorigenesis is as ceRNAs for tumor suppressor mRNAs.

Yue B, Sun B, Liu C, et al.
Long non-coding RNA Fer-1-like protein 4 suppresses oncogenesis and exhibits prognostic value by associating with miR-106a-5p in colon cancer.
Cancer Sci. 2015; 106(10):1323-32 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Novel long non-coding RNA Fer-1-like protein 4 (FER1L4) has been confirmed to play crucial regulatory roles in tumor progression. It exerts an impact on tumor suppression and functions as a competing endogenous RNA (ceRNA) by sponging miR-106a-5p in gastric cancer. However, its clinical significance in colon cancer is completely unknown. The aim of the present study was to annotate the role of FER1L4 and its clinical value in colon cancer. The results showed the aberrant expression of FER1L4 and miR-106a-5p in colon cancer tissues. In addition, significant negative correlation between FER1L4 and miR-106a-5p expression levels was observed. Among the colon cancer cell lines, FER1L4 levels were relatively lower, with concurrent high levels of miR-106a-5p. Restoration of FER1L4 decreased the expression of miR-106a-5p, and had a significant influence on colon cancer cell proliferation, migration and invasion. The FER1L4 expression was correlated with depth of tumor invasion, lymph node metastasis, vascular invasion and clinical stage. Moreover, striking differences in overall survival and disease-free survival were observed for the cases with both low FER1L4 expression and high miR-106a-5p expression compared with cases with high FER1L4 expression and low miR-106a-5p expression. Circulating FER1L4 and miR-106a-5p levels were decreased and increased, respectively, in colon cancer patients after surgery. Our findings indicated that FER1L4 could exert a tumor suppressive impact on colon cancer, which at least, in part, through suppressing miR-106a-5p expression, and depletion of FER1L4, alone or combined with overexpression of miR-106a-5p, is predictive of poor prognosis in colon cancer and may play a crucial role in cancer prevention and treatment.

Oneyama C, Yoshikawa Y, Ninomiya Y, et al.
Fer tyrosine kinase oligomer mediates and amplifies Src-induced tumor progression.
Oncogene. 2016; 35(4):501-12 [PubMed] Related Publications
c-Src is upregulated in various human cancers, suggesting its role in malignant progression. However, the molecular circuits of c-Src oncogenic signaling remain elusive. Here we show that Fer tyrosine kinase oligomer mediates and amplifies Src-induced tumor progression. Previously, we showed that transformation of fibroblasts is promoted by the relocation of c-Src to non-raft membranes. In this study, we identified Fer and ezrin as non-raft c-Src targets. c-Src directly activated Fer by initiating its autophosphorylation, which was further amplified by Fer oligomerization. Fer interacted with active c-Src at focal adhesion membranes and activated Fer-phosphorylated ezrin to induce cell transformation. Fer was also crucial for cell transformation induced by v-Src or epidermal growth-factor receptor activation. Furthermore, Fer activation was required for tumorigenesis and invasiveness in some cancer cells in which c-Src is upregulated. We propose that the Src-Fer axis represents a new therapeutic target for treatment of a subset of human cancers.

Shuen WH, Kan R, Yu Z, et al.
Novel lentiviral-inducible transgene expression systems and versatile single-plasmid reporters for in vitro and in vivo cancer biology studies.
Cancer Gene Ther. 2015; 22(4):207-14 [PubMed] Related Publications
Many of the cancer cell lines derived from solid tumors are difficult to transfect using commonly established transfection approaches. This hurdle for some DNA transfection systems has hindered cancer biology studies. Moreover, there are limited tools for studying pathway activities. Therefore, highly efficient improved gene transfer and versatile genetic tools are required. In this study, we established and developed a comprehensive set of new lentiviral tools to study gene functions and pathway activities. Using the optimized conditions, cancer cell lines achieved >90% transduction efficiency. Novel lentiviral doxycycline-regulated pTet-IRES-EGFP (pTIE) systems for transgene expression and TRE reporters used for pathway activity determination were developed and tested. The pTIE Tet-Off system showed in vitro doxycycline-sensitive responses with low or undetectable leakage of protein expression and in vivo tumor suppression as illustrated using candidate tumor suppressors, Fibulin-2 and THY1. In contrast, the Tet-On system showed dose-dependent responses. The pTRE-EGFP (pTE) and pTRE-FLuc-EF1α-RLuc (pT-FER) reporters with the NFκB p65 subunit consensus sequence showed GFP and firefly luciferase responses, which were directly correlated with TNFα stimulation, respectively. Taken together, these newly developed lentiviral systems provide versatile in vitro and in vivo platforms to strengthen our capabilities for cancer biology studies.

Nizard P, Ezan F, Bonnier D, et al.
Integrative analysis of high-throughput RNAi screen data identifies the FER and CRKL tyrosine kinases as new regulators of the mitogenic ERK-dependent pathways in transformed cells.
BMC Genomics. 2014; 15:1169 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Cell proliferation is a hallmark of cancer and depends on complex signaling networks that are chiefly supported by protein kinase activities. Therapeutic strategies have been used to target specific kinases but new methods are required to identify combined targets and improve treatment. Here, we propose a small interfering RNA genetic screen and an integrative approach to identify kinase networks involved in the proliferation of cancer cells.
RESULTS: The functional siRNA screen of 714 kinases in HeLa cells identified 91 kinases implicated in the regulation of cell growth, most of them never being reported in previous whole-genome siRNA screens. Based on gene ontology annotations, we have further discriminated between two classes of kinases that, when suppressed, result in alterations of the mitotic index and provoke cell-cycle arrest. Extinguished kinases that lead to a low mitotic index mostly include kinases implicated in cytosolic signaling. In contrast, extinguished kinases that result in a high mitotic index mostly include kinases implicated in cell division. By mapping hit kinases in the PhosphPOINT phosphoprotein database, we generated scale-free networks consisting of 449 and 661 protein-protein interactions for kinases from low MI and high MI groups, respectively. Further analyses of the kinase interactomes revealed specific modules such as FER- and CRKL-containing modules that connect three members of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) family, suggesting a tight control of the mitogenic EGF-dependent pathway. Based on experimental studies, we confirm the involvement of these two kinases in the regulation of tumor cell growth.
CONCLUSION: Based on a combined approach of large kinome-wide siRNA screens and ontology annotations, our study identifies for the first time two kinase groups differentially implicated in the control of cell proliferation. We further demonstrate that integrative analysis of the kinase interactome provides key information which can be used to facilitate or optimize target design for new therapeutic strategies. The complete list of protein-protein interactions from the two functional kinase groups will provide a useful database for future investigations.

Yu YP, Ding Y, Chen Z, et al.
Novel fusion transcripts associate with progressive prostate cancer.
Am J Pathol. 2014; 184(10):2840-9 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The mechanisms underlying the potential for aggressive behavior of prostate cancer (PCa) remain elusive. In this study, whole genome and/or transcriptome sequencing was performed on 19 specimens of PCa, matched adjacent benign prostate tissues, matched blood specimens, and organ donor prostates. A set of novel fusion transcripts was discovered in PCa. Eight of these fusion transcripts were validated through multiple approaches. The occurrence of these fusion transcripts was then analyzed in 289 prostate samples from three institutes, with clinical follow-up ranging from 1 to 15 years. The analyses indicated that most patients [69 (91%) of 76] positive for any of these fusion transcripts (TRMT11-GRIK2, SLC45A2-AMACR, MTOR-TP53BP1, LRRC59-FLJ60017, TMEM135-CCDC67, KDM4-AC011523.2, MAN2A1-FER, and CCNH-C5orf30) experienced PCa recurrence, metastases, and/or PCa-specific death after radical prostatectomy. These outcomes occurred in only 37% (58/157) of patients without carrying those fusion transcripts. Three fusion transcripts occurred exclusively in PCa samples from patients who experienced recurrence or PCaerelated death. The formation of these fusion transcripts may be the result of genome recombination. A combination of these fusion transcripts in PCa with Gleason's grading or with nomogram significantly improves the prediction rate of PCa recurrence. Our analyses suggest that formation of these fusion transcripts may underlie the aggressive behavior of PCa.

Atak ZK, Gianfelici V, Hulselmans G, et al.
Comprehensive analysis of transcriptome variation uncovers known and novel driver events in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
PLoS Genet. 2013; 9(12):e1003997 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
RNA-seq is a promising technology to re-sequence protein coding genes for the identification of single nucleotide variants (SNV), while simultaneously obtaining information on structural variations and gene expression perturbations. We asked whether RNA-seq is suitable for the detection of driver mutations in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL). These leukemias are caused by a combination of gene fusions, over-expression of transcription factors and cooperative point mutations in oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes. We analyzed 31 T-ALL patient samples and 18 T-ALL cell lines by high-coverage paired-end RNA-seq. First, we optimized the detection of SNVs in RNA-seq data by comparing the results with exome re-sequencing data. We identified known driver genes with recurrent protein altering variations, as well as several new candidates including H3F3A, PTK2B, and STAT5B. Next, we determined accurate gene expression levels from the RNA-seq data through normalizations and batch effect removal, and used these to classify patients into T-ALL subtypes. Finally, we detected gene fusions, of which several can explain the over-expression of key driver genes such as TLX1, PLAG1, LMO1, or NKX2-1; and others result in novel fusion transcripts encoding activated kinases (SSBP2-FER and TPM3-JAK2) or involving MLLT10. In conclusion, we present novel analysis pipelines for variant calling, variant filtering, and expression normalization on RNA-seq data, and successfully applied these for the detection of translocations, point mutations, INDELs, exon-skipping events, and expression perturbations in T-ALL.

Jeong W, Park SR, Rapisarda A, et al.
Weekly EZN-2208 (PEGylated SN-38) in combination with bevacizumab in patients with refractory solid tumors.
Invest New Drugs. 2014; 32(2):340-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Anti-angiogenic therapies such as bevacizumab upregulate hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α), a possible mechanism of drug resistance. Camptothecin analogues, including SN-38, have been shown to reduce the expression and transcriptional activity of HIF-1α in preclinical models. We hypothesized that co-administration of pegylated SN-38 (EZN-2208) may offset the induction of HIF-1α following bevacizumab treatment, resulting in synergistic antitumor effects.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Patients with refractory solid tumors were enrolled. Objectives were to evaluate the modulation of HIF-1α protein and target genes in tumor biopsies following administration of the combination of EZN-2208 administered weekly × 3 (days 1, 8, 15) and bevacizumab administered every 2 weeks, in 28-day cycles, and to establish the safety and tolerability of the combination. Tumor biopsies and dynamic contrast enhanced MRI (DCE-MRI) were obtained following bevacizumab alone (before EZN-2208) and after administration of both study drugs.
RESULTS: Twelve patients were enrolled; ten were evaluable for response. Prolonged stable disease was observed in 2 patients, one with HCC (16 cycles) and another with desmoplastic round cell tumor (7 cycles). Reduction in HIF-1α protein levels in tumor biopsies compared to baseline was observed in 5 of 7 patients. Quantitative analysis of DCE-MRI from 2 patients revealed changes in K(trans) and k(ep). The study closed prematurely as further clinical development of EZN-2208 was suspended by the pharmaceutical sponsor.
CONCLUSION: Preliminary proof-of-concept for modulation of HIF-1α protein in tumor biopsies following administration of EZN-2208 was observed. Two of 10 patients had prolonged disease stabilization following treatment with the EZN-2208 and bevacizumab combination.

Kawakami M, Ishikawa R, Amano Y, et al.
Detection of novel paraja ring finger 2-fer tyrosine kinase mRNA chimeras is associated with poor postoperative prognosis in non-small cell lung cancer.
Cancer Sci. 2013; 104(11):1447-54 [PubMed] Related Publications
Previously, we reported that the overexpression of fer tyrosine kinase (FER), a non-receptor tyrosine kinase, is correlated with poor postoperative prognosis and cancer-cell survival in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). In the present study, we further analyzed FER-overexpressed NSCLC cases and identified various patterns of chimeric mRNAs, composed of paraja ring finger 2 (PJA2) and FER. We detected no genomic rearrangements between PJA2 and FER and attributed these chimeric mRNAs to alterations at the transcriptome level: i.e., trans-splicing. Several chimeric patterns were detected concurrently in each patient, and the pattern sets varied among patients, although the pattern in which PJA2 exon 1 was fused to FER exon 3 (designated as Pe1-Fe3 mRNA) was detected constantly. Therefore, in a wide screening for PJA2-FER mRNAs in NSCLC, we focused on this chimeric pattern as a representative chimera. In analyses of 167 NSCLC samples, Pe1-Fe3 mRNA was identified in about 10% of the patients, and the presence of chimeric mRNA was significantly correlated with a high expression level of parental FER mRNA. Furthermore, we found that the detection of Pe1-Fe3 mRNA was correlated with poor postoperative survival periods in NSCLC, consistent with a previous finding in which FER overexpression was correlated with poor postoperative prognosis in NSCLC. This report is the first to suggest a correlation between chimeric mRNA and the expression level of parental mRNA. Furthermore, our findings may be clinically beneficial, suggesting that PJA2-FER mRNAs might serve as a novel prognostic biomarker in NSCLC.

Rocha J, Zouanat FZ, Zoubeidi A, et al.
The Fer tyrosine kinase acts as a downstream interleukin-6 effector of androgen receptor activation in prostate cancer.
Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2013; 381(1-2):140-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Castrate-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) is invariably lethal and still poorly understood. IL-6/pSTAT3 appears critical as elevated IL-6 and pSTAT3 correlate with CRPC and poor prognosis. We previously reported on the Fer tyrosine kinase being an integral component of the IL-6 pathway in PC by controlling STAT3. Since IL-6 also controls androgen receptor (AR) signaling via pSTAT3, we tested if Fer participates in this cross-talk. We report for the first time that in addition to STAT3, Fer is required for IL-6 mediated AR activation by phosphorylating AR tyrosine 223 and binding via its SH2 domain. Fer controls IL-6 induced growth response and PSA expression, while modestly contributing to EGF and IGF-1 effects. Finally, Fer, AR and pSTAT3 co-localize in the PC cell nucleus, including in prostate tissues from CRPC patients. Altogether these findings support a Fer contribution to aberrant AR signaling via pSTAT3 cross-talks during CRPC progression.

Bol GM, Raman V, van der Groep P, et al.
Expression of the RNA helicase DDX3 and the hypoxia response in breast cancer.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(5):e63548 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
AIMS: DDX3 is an RNA helicase that has antiapoptotic properties, and promotes proliferation and transformation. In addition, DDX3 was shown to be a direct downstream target of HIF-1α (the master regulatory of the hypoxia response) in breast cancer cell lines. However, the relation between DDX3 and hypoxia has not been addressed in human tumors. In this paper, we studied the relation between DDX3 and the hypoxic responsive proteins in human breast cancer.
METHODS AND RESULTS: DDX3 expression was investigated by immunohistochemistry in breast cancer in comparison with hypoxia related proteins HIF-1α, GLUT1, CAIX, EGFR, HER2, Akt1, FOXO4, p53, ERα, COMMD1, FER kinase, PIN1, E-cadherin, p21, p27, Transferrin receptor, FOXO3A, c-Met and Notch1. DDX3 was overexpressed in 127 of 366 breast cancer patients, and was correlated with overexpression of HIF-1α and its downstream genes CAIX and GLUT1. Moreover, DDX3 expression correlated with hypoxia-related proteins EGFR, HER2, FOXO4, ERα and c-Met in a HIF-1α dependent fashion, and with COMMD1, FER kinase, Akt1, E-cadherin, TfR and FOXO3A independent of HIF-1α.
CONCLUSIONS: In invasive breast cancer, expression of DDX3 was correlated with overexpression of HIF-1α and many other hypoxia related proteins, pointing to a distinct role for DDX3 under hypoxic conditions and supporting the oncogenic role of DDX3 which could have clinical implication for current development of DDX3 inhibitors.

Lennartsson J, Ma H, Wardega P, et al.
The Fer tyrosine kinase is important for platelet-derived growth factor-BB-induced signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) protein phosphorylation, colony formation in soft agar, and tumor growth in vivo.
J Biol Chem. 2013; 288(22):15736-44 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Fer is a cytoplasmic tyrosine kinase that is activated in response to platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) stimulation. In the present report, we show that Fer associates with the activated PDGF β-receptor (PDGFRβ) through multiple autophosphorylation sites, i.e. Tyr-579, Tyr-581, Tyr-740, and Tyr-1021. Using low molecular weight inhibitors, we found that PDGF-BB-induced Fer activation is dependent on PDGFRβ kinase activity, but not on the enzymatic activity of Src or Jak kinases. In cells in which Fer was down-regulated using siRNA, PDGF-BB was unable to induce phosphorylation of STAT3, whereas phosphorylations of STAT5, ERK1/2, and Akt were unaffected. PDGF-BB-induced activation of STAT3 occurred also in cells expressing kinase-dead Fer, suggesting a kinase-independent adaptor role of Fer. Expression of Fer was dispensable for PDGF-BB-induced proliferation and migration but essential for colony formation in soft agar. Tumor growth in vivo was delayed in cells depleted of Fer expression. Our data suggest a critical role of Fer in PDGF-BB-induced STAT3 activation and cell transformation.

Onnis B, Fer N, Rapisarda A, et al.
Autocrine production of IL-11 mediates tumorigenicity in hypoxic cancer cells.
J Clin Invest. 2013; 123(4):1615-29 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
IL-11 and its receptor, IL-11Ra, are expressed in human cancers; however, the functional role of IL-11 in tumor progression is not known. We found that IL11 is a hypoxia-inducible, VHL-regulated gene in human cancer cells and that expression of IL11 mRNA was dependent, at least in part, on HIF-1. A cooperative interaction between HIF-1 and AP-1 mediated transcriptional activation of the IL11 promoter. Additionally, we found that human cancer cells expressed a functional IL-11Ra subunit, which triggered signal transduction either by exogenous recombinant human IL-11 or by autocrine production of IL-11 in cells cultured under hypoxic conditions. Silencing of IL11 dramatically abrogated the ability of hypoxia to increase anchorage-independent growth and significantly reduced tumor growth in xenograft models. Notably, these results were phenocopied by partial knockdown of STAT1 in a human prostate cancer cell line (PC3), suggesting that this pathway may play an important role in mediating the effects of IL-11 under hypoxic conditions. In conclusion, these results identify IL11 as an oxygen- and VHL-regulated gene and provide evidence of a pathway "hijacked" by hypoxic cancer cells that may contribute to tumor progression.

Miyata Y, Kanda S, Sakai H, Greer PA
Feline sarcoma-related protein expression correlates with malignant aggressiveness and poor prognosis in renal cell carcinoma.
Cancer Sci. 2013; 104(6):681-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
Feline sarcoma-related protein (Fer) is a ubiquitously expressed non-receptor protein tyrosine kinase associated with proliferation in various cancer cells. However, no reports have described the pathological roles and prognostic value of Fer expression in renal cell carcinoma (RCC). We investigated Fer expression in three RCC cell lines (ACHN, Caki-1, and Caki-2) and in normal tubule cells (HK-2) by immunoblotting. Fer expression was highest in ACHN cells, with Caki-1 showing intermediate levels and Caki-2 showing low levels, and was undetectable in HK-2. RNA interference was therefore used to assess the effects of Fer knockdown in ACHN. Knockdown of Fer expression was found to inhibit RCC cell proliferation and colony formation. Immunohistochemical analysis of 131 human RCC tissues (110 conventional, 11 chromophobe, and 10 papillary) investigated relationships between Fer expression and clinicopathological features, including cancer cell proliferation, apoptosis, and prognostic value for survival. In human tissues, Fer expression was significantly higher in cancer cells than in normal tubules. In addition, expression levels correlated with cancer cell proliferation, but not with apoptosis. Multivariate analysis indicated associations of Fer expression with pT stage, tumor grade, and metastasis (P < 0.001). Fer expression was also prognostic for cause-specific survival according to multivariate analysis (hazard ratio, 3.89; 95% confidence interval, 1.02-14.84, P = 0.047). Fer expression correlates with RCC cell proliferation both in vitro and in vivo, and with tumor progression and survival. This represents useful information for discussing the pathological and clinical significance of Fer in RCC.

Li R, Ackerman WE, Mihai C, et al.
Myoferlin depletion in breast cancer cells promotes mesenchymal to epithelial shape change and stalls invasion.
PLoS One. 2012; 7(6):e39766 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Myoferlin (MYOF) is a mammalian ferlin protein with homology to ancestral Fer-1, a nematode protein that regulates spermatic membrane fusion, which underlies the amoeboid-like movements of its sperm. Studies in muscle and endothelial cells have reported on the role of myoferlin in membrane repair, endocytosis, myoblast fusion, and the proper expression of various plasma membrane receptors. In this study, using an in vitro human breast cancer cell model, we demonstrate that myoferlin is abundantly expressed in invasive breast tumor cells. Depletion of MYOF using lentiviral-driven shRNA expression revealed that MDA-MB-231 cells reverted to an epithelial morphology, suggesting at least some features of mesenchymal to epithelial transition (MET). These observations were confirmed by the down-regulation of some mesenchymal cell markers (e.g., fibronectin and vimentin) and coordinate up-regulation of the E-cadherin epithelial marker. Cell invasion assays using Boyden chambers showed that loss of MYOF led to a significant diminution in invasion through Matrigel or type I collagen, while cell migration was unaffected. PCR array and screening of serum-free culture supernatants from shRNA(MYOF) transduced MDA-MB-231 cells indicated a significant reduction in the steady-state levels of several matrix metalloproteinases. These data when considered in toto suggest a novel role of MYOF in breast tumor cell invasion and a potential reversion to an epithelial phenotype upon loss of MYOF.

Makovski A, Yaffe E, Shpungin S, Nir U
Down-regulation of Fer induces ROS levels accompanied by ATM and p53 activation in colon carcinoma cells.
Cell Signal. 2012; 24(7):1369-74 [PubMed] Related Publications
Fer is an intracellular tyrosine kinase which resides in both the cytoplasm and nucleus of mammalian cells. This kinase was also found in all malignant cell-lines analyzed and was shown to support cell-cycle progression in cancer cells. Herein we show that knock-down of Fer, both, impairs cell-cycle progression and imposes programmed cell death in colon carcinoma (CC) cells. The cell-cycle arrest and apoptotic death invoked by the depletion of Fer were found to depend on the activity of p53. Accordingly, down regulation of Fer led to the activation of the Ataxia Telangiectasia Mutated protein (ATM) and its down-stream effector-p53. Knock-down of Fer also increased the level of Reactive-Oxygen Species (ROS) in CC cells, and subjection of Fer depleted cells to ROS neutralizing scavengers significantly decreased the induced phosphorylation and activation of ATM and p53. Notably, over-expression of Fer opposed the Doxorubicin driven activation of ATM and p53, which can be mediated by ROS. Collectively, our findings imply that Fer sustains low ROS levels in CC cells, thereby restraining the activation of ATM and p53 in these cells.

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