PLEKHA7 signaling is necessary for the growth of mutant KRAS driven colorectal cancer

Hei Cheul Jeung, Roisin Puentes, Alexander Aleshin, Martin Indarte, Ricardo G. Correa, Laurie A. Bankston, Fabiana I.A.L. Layng, Zamal Ahmed, Ignacio Wistuba, Yong Yao, Daniela G. Duenas, Shuxing Zhang, Emmanuelle J. Meuillet, Francesca Marassi, Robert C. Liddington, Lynn Kirkpatrick, Garth Powis

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1 Scopus citations


Plekha7 (Pleckstrin homology [PH] domain containing, family A member 7) regulates the assembly of proteins of the cytoplasmic apical zonula adherens junction (AJ), thus ensuring cell-cell adhesion and tight-junction barrier integrity. Little is known of Plekha7 function in cancer. In colorectal cancer (CRC) Plekha7 expression is elevated compared to adjacent normal tissue levels, increasing with clinical stage. Plekha7 was present at plasma membrane AJ with wild-type KRas (wt-KRas) but was dispersed in cells expressing mutant KRas (mut-KRas). Fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM) indicated a direct Plekha7 interaction with wt-KRas but scantily with mut-KRas. Inhibiting Plekha7 specifically decreased mut-KRas cell signaling, proliferation, attachment, migration, and retarded mut-KRAS CRC tumor growth. Binding of diC8-phosphoinositides (PI) to the PH domain of Plekha7 was relatively low affinity. This may be because a D175 amino acid residue plays a “sentry” role preventing PI(3,4)P2 and PI(3,4,5)P3 binding. Molecular or pharmacological inhibition of the Plekha7 PH domain prevented the growth of mut-KRas but not wt-KRas cells. Taken together the studies suggest that Plekha7, in addition to maintaining AJ structure plays a role in mut-KRas signaling and phenotype through interaction of its PH domain with membrane mut-KRas, but not wt-KRas, to increase the efficiency of mut-KRas downstream signaling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number112930
JournalExperimental Cell Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 15 2021


  • Mutant KRAS
  • PH domain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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