Molecular cancer research : MCR

DAPK3 suppresses acini morphogenesis and is required for mouse development.

PMID 25304685


Death-associated protein kinase (DAPK3) is a serine/threonine kinase involved in various signaling pathways important to tissue homeostasis and mammalian biology. Considered to be a putative tumor suppressor, the molecular mechanism by which DAPK3 exerts its suppressive function is not fully understood and the field lacks an appropriate mouse model. To address these gaps, an in vitro three-dimensional tumorigenesis model was used and a constitutive DAPK3-knockout mouse was generated. In the 3D morphogenesis model, loss of DAPK3 through lentiviral-mediated knockdown enlarged acinar size by accelerated acini proliferation and apoptosis while maintaining acini polarity. Depletion of DAPK3 enhanced growth factor-dependent mTOR activation and, furthermore, enlarged DAPK3 acini structures were uniquely sensitive to low doses of rapamycin. Simultaneous knockdown of RAPTOR, a key mTORC1 component, reversed the augmented acinar size in DAPK3-depleted structures indicating an epistatic interaction. Using a validated gene trap strategy to generate a constitutive DAPK3-knockout mouse, it was demonstrated that DAPK3 is vital for early mouse development. The Dapk3 promoter exhibits spatiotemporal activity in developing mice and is actively expressed in normal breast epithelia of adult mice. Importantly, reduction of DAPK3 expression correlates with the development of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) and more aggressive breast cancer as observed in the Oncomine database of clinical breast cancer specimens. Novel cellular and mouse modeling studies of DAPK3 shed light on its tumor-suppressive mechanisms and provide direct evidence that DAPK3 has relevance in early development.

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Rapamycin, VETRANAL, analytical standard