MAF mediates crosstalk between Ras-MAPK and mTOR signaling in NF1.

PMID 24509877


Mutations in the neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) tumor suppressor gene are common in cancer and can cause resistance to therapy. Using transcriptome analysis we identified MAF as an NF1- regulated transcription factor and verified MAF regulation through RAS/MAPK/AP-1 signaling in malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor (MPNST) cell lines. MAF was also downregulated in human MPNST. Acute re-expression of MAF promoted expression of glial differentiation markers in MPNST cells in vitro, decreased self-renewal of embryonic precursors and transiently affected tumor cell phenotypes in vitro by increasing MPNST cell death and reducing metabolic activity and anchorage-independent growth. Paradoxically, chronic MAF overexpression enhanced MPNST cell tumor growth in vivo, correlating with elevated pS6 in vitro and in vivo. RAD001 blocked MAF-mediated tumor growth, and MAF regulated the mTOR pathway through DEPTOR. MAPK inhibition with NF1 loss of function is predicted to show limited efficacy due to reactivation of mTOR signaling via MAF.

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