RNF141 interacts with KRAS to promote colorectal cancer progression

RING finger proteins (RNFs) play a critical role in cancer initiation and progression. RNF141 is a member of RNFs family; however, its clinical significance, roles, and mechanism in colorectal cancer (CRC) remain poorly understood. Here, we examined the expression of RNF141 in 64 pairs of CRC and adjacent normal tissues by real-time PCR, Western blot, and immunohistochemical analysis. We found that there was more expression of RNF141 in CRC tissue compared with its adjacent normal tissue and high RNF141 expression associated with T stage. In vivo and in vitro functional experiments were conducted and revealed the oncogenic role of RNF141 in CRC. RNF141 knockdown suppressed proliferation, arrested the cell cycle in the G1 phase, inhibited migration, invasion and HUVEC tube formation but promoted apoptosis, whereas RNF141 overexpression exerted the opposite effects in CRC cells. The subcutaneous xenograft models showed that RNF141 knockdown reduced tumor growth, but its overexpression promoted tumor growth. Mechanistically, liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry indicated RNF141 interacted with KRAS, which was confirmed by Co-immunoprecipitation, Immunofluorescence assay.

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Fig: RNF141 was upregulated in CRC tissues: A The expression of RNF141 mRNA was verified by RT-PCR in 64 pairs of CRC and adjacent normal tissues. B The ration (T/N) of RNF141 mRNA was shown as log (T/N). C The RNF141 protein levels in 64 pairs of CRC and adjacent normal tissues was analyzed by Western blot. D RNF141 expression was analyzed by IHC using RNF141 antibody in CRC tissue, and typical photos were presented (scale bar, 200 μm; inset scale bar, 50 μm). Adjacent normal was the adjacent normal colorectal tissue from the same case. GAPDH glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase. ***P < 0.001. T tumor, N adjacent normal tissues.

Further analysis with bimolecular fluorescence complementation (BiFC) and Glutathione-S-transferase (GST) pull-down assays showed that RNF141 could directly bind to KRAS. Importantly, the upregulation of RNF141 increased GTP-bound KRAS, but its knockdown resulted in a reduction accordingly. Next, we demonstrated that RNF141 induced KRAS activation via increasing its enrichment on the plasma membrane not altering total KRAS expression, which was facilitated by the interaction with LYPLA1. Moreover, KRAS silencing partially abolished the effect of RNF141 on cell proliferation and apoptosis. In addition, our findings presented that RNF141 functioned as an oncogene by upregulating KRAS activity in a manner of promoting KRAS enrichment on the plasma membrane in CRC.

Zhang, J., Jiang, X., Yin, J. et al. RNF141 interacts with KRAS to promote colorectal cancer progression. Oncogene (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41388-021-01877-4

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