KRAS Suppression-Induced Degradation of MYC Is Antagonized by a MEK5-ERK5 Compensatory Mechanism.
Cancer Cell. 2018 Nov 12;34(5):807-822.e7. doi: 10.1016/j.ccell.2018.10.001.
Our recent ERK1/2 inhibitor analyses in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) indicated ERK1/2-independent mechanisms maintaining MYC protein stability. To identify these mechanisms, we determined the signaling networks by which mutant KRAS regulates MYC. Acute KRAS suppression caused rapid proteasome-dependent loss of MYC protein, through both ERK1/2-dependent and -independent mechanisms. Surprisingly, MYC degradation was independent of PI3K-AKT-GSK3β signaling and the E3 ligase FBWX7. We then established and applied a high-throughput screen for MYC protein degradation and performed a kinome-wide proteomics screen. We identified an ERK1/2-inhibition-induced feedforward mechanism dependent on EGFR and SRC, leading to ERK5 activation and phosphorylation of MYC at S62, preventing degradation. Concurrent inhibition of ERK1/2 and ERK5 disrupted this mechanism, synergistically causing loss of MYC and suppressing PDAC growth.