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Cancer research

PME-1 protects extracellular signal-regulated kinase pathway activity from protein phosphatase 2A-mediated inactivation in human malignant glioma.


PMID 19293187

Abstract

Extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK)/mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway activity is regulated by the antagonist function of activating kinases and inactivating protein phosphatases. Sustained ERK pathway activity is commonly observed in human malignancies; however, the mechanisms by which the pathway is protected from phosphatase-mediated inactivation in the tumor tissue remain obscure. Here, we show that methylesterase PME-1-mediated inhibition of the protein phosphatase 2A promotes basal ERK pathway activity and is required for efficient growth factor response. Mechanistically, PME-1 is shown to support ERK pathway signaling upstream of Raf, but downstream of growth factor receptors and protein kinase C. In malignant gliomas, PME-1 expression levels correlate with both ERK activity and cell proliferation in vivo. Moreover, PME-1 expression significantly correlates with disease progression in human astrocytic gliomas (n=222). Together, these observations identify PME-1 expression as one mechanism by which ERK pathway activity is maintained in cancer cells and suggest an important functional role for PME-1 in the disease progression of human astrocytic gliomas.