Scientific publications

The phospholipid transporter PITPNC1 links KRAS to MYC to prevent autophagy in lung and pancreatic cancer

May 1, 2023 | Magazine: Molecular Cancer

Rodrigo Entrialgo-Cadierno 1, Cristina Cueto-Ureña 1, Connor Welch 1 2, Iker Feliu 1, Irati Macaya 1, Laura Vera 1, Xabier Morales 3, Sandra Vietti Michelina 4, Pietro Scaparone 4, Ines Lopez 1, Elodie Darbo 5, Oihane Erice 1, Adrian Vallejo 1, Haritz Moreno 1, Ainhoa Goñi-Salaverri 6, David Lara-Astiaso 6 7, Nils Halberg 8, Ivan Cortes-Dominguez 3 9, Elizabeth Guruceaga 9 10, Chiara Ambrogio 4, Fernando Lecanda 1 2 10 11, Silve Vicent 12 13 14 15


Background: The discovery of functionally relevant KRAS effectors in lung and pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (LUAD and PDAC) may yield novel molecular targets or mechanisms amenable to inhibition strategies. Phospholipids availability has been appreciated as a mechanism to modulate KRAS oncogenic potential. Thus, phospholipid transporters may play a functional role in KRAS-driven oncogenesis. Here, we identified and systematically studied the phospholipid transporter PITPNC1 and its controlled network in LUAD and PDAC.

Methods: Genetic modulation of KRAS expression as well as pharmacological inhibition of canonical effectors was completed. PITPNC1 genetic depletion was performed in in vitro and in vivo LUAD and PDAC models. PITPNC1-deficient cells were RNA sequenced, and Gene Ontology and enrichment analyses were applied to the output data. Protein-based biochemical and subcellular localization assays were run to investigate PITPNC1-regulated pathways. A drug repurposing approach was used to predict surrogate PITPNC1 inhibitors that were tested in combination with KRASG12C inhibitors in 2D, 3D, and in vivo models.

Results: PITPNC1 was increased in human LUAD and PDAC, and associated with poor patients' survival. PITPNC1 was regulated by KRAS through MEK1/2 and JNK1/2. Functional experiments showed PITPNC1 requirement for cell proliferation, cell cycle progression and tumour growth. Furthermore, PITPNC1 overexpression enhanced lung colonization and liver metastasis. PITPNC1 regulated a transcriptional signature which highly overlapped with that of KRAS, and controlled mTOR localization via enhanced MYC protein stability to prevent autophagy. JAK2 inhibitors were predicted as putative PITPNC1 inhibitors with antiproliferative effect and their combination with KRASG12C inhibitors elicited a substantial anti-tumour effect in LUAD and PDAC.

Conclusions: Our data highlight the functional and clinical relevance of PITPNC1 in LUAD and PDAC. Moreover, PITPNC1 constitutes a new mechanism linking KRAS to MYC, and controls a druggable transcriptional network for combinatorial treatments.

Keywords: KRAS; LUAD; MYC; PDAC; PITPNC1; Therapy; mTOR.

CITA DEL ARTÍCULO Mol Cancer. 2023 May 20;22(1):86. doi: 10.1186/s12943-023-01788-w.

Our authors

Rodrigo Entrialgo Cadierno
Connor Welch
Iker Feliu Gascón
Laboratory technician Solid Tumor Research Program
Dr. Irati Macaya Erro
Laboratory technician Solid Tumor Research Program
Dr. Laura Vera Álvarez
Dr. Xabier Morales Urteaga
Research Technician Image Platform
Dr. Oihane Erice Azparren
Adrián Vallejo Blanco
Project Graduate Solid Tumor Research Program
Haritz Moreno Moreno
Laboratory technician Solid Tumor Research Program
Dr. Iván Cortés Domínguez
Elizabet Guruceaga Martínez
Bioinformatics Research Technician Bioinformatics Platform