RSK promotes G2 DNA damage checkpoint silencing and participates in melanoma chemoresistance.
Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC), Université de Montréal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
The incidence of malignant melanoma is growing rapidly worldwide and there is still no effective therapy for metastatic disease. This type of cancer is highly resistant to conventional DNA-damaging chemotherapeutics, and intense research has been dedicated for understanding the molecular pathways underlying chemoresistance. The Ras/mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signalling pathway is often deregulated in melanoma, which frequently harbours activating mutations in NRAS or BRAF. Herein, we demonstrate that the MAPK-activated protein kinase RSK (p90 ribosomal S6 kinase) contributes to melanoma chemoresistance by altering their response to chemotherapeutic agents. We find that RSK phosphorylates checkpoint kinase 1 (Chk1) at an inhibitory site, Ser280, both in vitro and in vivo. Our results indicate that RSK is the predominant protein kinase operating downstream of mitogens and oncogenes of the Ras/MAPK pathway, and consistent with this, we find that RSK constitutively phosphorylates Chk1 in melanoma. We show that RSK inhibition increases Chk1 activity in response to DNA-damaging agents, suggesting that the Ras/MAPK pathway modulates Chk1 function and the response to DNA damage. Accordingly, we demonstrate that RSK promotes G2 DNA damage checkpoint silencing in a Chk1-dependent manner, and find that RSK inhibitors sensitize melanoma cells to DNA-damaging agents. Together, our results identify a novel link between the Ras/MAPK pathway and the DNA damage response, and suggest that RSK inhibitors may be used to modulate chemosensitivity, which is one of the major obstacles to melanoma treatment.
Pubmed ID: 23108403