Nature communications

The nuclear translocation of ERK1/2 as an anticancer target.

PMID 25819065


A hallmark of the ERK1/2 functioning is their nuclear translocation, which is mainly required for the induction of proliferation. Activated ERK1/2 molecules that remain in the cytoplasm initiate other activities, including immediate feedback loops. Prevention of the nuclear translocation should therefore inhibit proliferation, without affecting cytoplasm-induced cellular processes. Here we present an NTS-derived myristoylated phosphomimetic peptide, which blocks the interaction of importin7 and ERK1/2, and consequently the nuclear translocation of the latter. In culture, the peptide induces apoptosis of melanoma cells inhibits the viability of other cancer cells, but has no effect on non-transformed, immortalized cells. It even inhibits the viability of PLX4032- and U0126-resistant melanoma cells. In xenograft models, the peptide inhibits several cancers, and acts much better than PLX4032 in preventing melanoma recurrence. This study provides a proof of concept for using the nuclear translocation of ERK1/2 as a drug target for the combat of various ERK1/2-related cancers.