Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

STOP gene Phactr4 is a tumor suppressor.

PMID 23319639


Cancer develops through genetic and epigenetic alterations that allow unrestrained proliferation and increased survival. Using a genetic RNAi screen, we previously identified hundreds of suppressors of tumorigenesis and/or proliferation (STOP) genes that restrain normal cell proliferation. Our STOP gene set was significantly enriched for known and putative tumor suppressor genes. Here, we report a tumor-suppressive role for one STOP gene, phosphatase and actin regulator 4 (PHACTR4). Phactr4 is one of four members of the largely uncharacterized Phactr family of protein phosphatase 1 (PP1)-and actin-binding proteins. Our work suggests that Phactr4 restrains normal cell proliferation and transformation. Depletion of Phactr4 with multiple shRNAs leads to increased proliferation and soft agar colony formation. Phactr4 acts, in part, through an Rb-dependent pathway, because Rb phosphorylation is maintained upon growth factor withdrawal in Phactr4-depleted cells. Examination of tumor copy number analysis and sequencing revealed that PHACTR4 is significantly deleted and mutant in many tumor subtypes. Furthermore,cancer cell lines with reduced Phactr4 expression exhibit tumor suppressor hypersensitivity upon Phactr4 complementation,leading to reduced proliferation, transformation, and tumor formation. Thus, Phactr4 acts as a tumor suppressor that is deleted and mutant in several cancers.