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Scientific reports

Direct binding of MEK1 and MEK2 to AKT induces Foxo1 phosphorylation, cellular migration and metastasis.


PMID 28225038

Abstract

Crosstalk between the ERK cascade and other signaling pathways is one of the means by which it acquires its signaling specificity. Here we identified a direct interaction of both MEK1 and MEK2 with AKT. The interaction is mediated by the proline rich domain of MEK1/2 and regulated by phosphorylation of Ser298 in MEK1, or Ser306 in MEK2, which we identified here as a novel regulatory site. We further developed a blocking peptide, which inhibits the interaction between MEK and AKT, and when applied to cells, affects migration and adhesion, but not proliferation. The specific mechanism of action of the MEK-AKT complex involves phosphorylation of the migration-related transcription factor FoxO1. Importantly, prevention of the interaction results in a decreased metastasis formation in a breast cancer mouse model. Thus, the identified interaction both sheds light on how signaling specificity is determined, and represents a possible new therapeutic target for metastatic cancer.

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