Threonine-120 Phosphorylation Regulated by Phosphoinositide-3-Kinase/Akt and Mammalian Target of Rapamycin Pathway Signaling Limits the Antitumor Activity of Mammalian Sterile 20-Like Kinase 1

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KISAAYAK ÇOLLAK F. , Kader Y., Luthringer D., Erkaya B., Cinar B.

JOURNAL OF BIOLOGICAL CHEMISTRY, vol.287, no.28, pp.23698-23709, 2012 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 287 Issue: 28
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Doi Number: 10.1074/jbc.m112.358713
  • Page Numbers: pp.23698-23709


Mst1/Stk4, a hippo-like serine-threonine kinase, is implicated in many cancers, including prostate cancer. However, the mechanisms regulating Mst1 remain obscure. Here, we characterized the effects of phospho-Thr-120 on Mst1 in prostate cancer cells. We demonstrated that phospho-Thr-120 did not alter the nuclear localization or cleavage of Mst1 in a LNCaP or castration-resistant C4-2 prostate tumor cell model, as revealed by a mutagenesis approach. Phospho-Thr-120 appeared to be specific to cancer cells and predominantly localized in the nucleus. In contrast, phospho-Thr-183, a critical regulator of Mst1 cell death, was exclusively found in the cytoplasm. As assessed by immunohistochemistry, a similar distribution of phospho-Mst1-Thr-120/Thr-183 was also observed in a prostate cancer specimen. In addition, the blockade of PI3K signaling by a small molecule inhibitor, LY294002, increased cytoplasmic phospho-Mst1-Thr-183 without having a significant effect on nuclear phospho-Mst1-Thr-120. However, the attenuation of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) activity by a selective pharmacologic inhibitor, Ku0063794 or CCI-779, caused the up-regulation of nuclear phospho-Mst1-Thr-120 without affecting cytoplasmic phospho-Mst1-Thr-183. This suggests that PI3K and mTOR pathway signaling differentially regulate phospho-Mst1-Thr-120/Thr-183. Moreover, mutagenesis and RNAi data revealed that phospho-Thr-120 resulted in C4-2 cell resistance to mTOR inhibition and reduced the Mst1 suppression of cell growth and androgen receptor-driven gene expression. Collectively, these findings indicate that phospho-Thr-120 leads to the loss of Mst1 functions, supporting cancer cell growth and survival.