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STK16 promoted colorectal cancer progress in a c-MYC signaling-dependent manner.

Molecular Medicine 2024 April 16
BACKGROUND: Colorectal cancer standed as a global health challenge, ranking third in cancer incidence and second in cancer-related deaths worldwide. A deeper understanding of the intricate mechanisms driving colorectal cancer development was pressing need. STK16 had garnered attention in recent researches, while its involvement in cancer had been minimally explored. c-MYC had emerged as a key player in cancer biology. Due to its complex structure, multifunctionality, and intricate interactions, directly inhibiting the activity of c-MYC proves to be challenging. Hence, current research was directing efforts towards modulating c-MYC expression levels.

METHODS: Immunoblot, Immunohistochemistry and immunoprecipitation assays were conducted to assess the indicated protein expression levels. RT-PCR was performed to detect the corresponding mRNA expression levels. The proliferation, migration, invasion, and colony formation abilities of the specified cancer cells were investigated using CCK8 assays, Brdu assays, transwell assays, and colony formation assays, respectively. Cellular and animal experiments were performed to investigate the correlation between STK16 signaling and c-MYC signaling.

RESULTS: STK16 plays a positive regulatory role in the progression of colorectal cancer. Delving into the molecular mechanisms, we unveiled that STK16 phosphorylated c-MYC at serine 452, a pivotal event hindering the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway degradation of c-MYC. Importantly, colorectal cancer proliferation mediated by STK16 was found to be dependent on the phosphorylation of c-MYC at S452. Furthermore, the researchers demonstrated that STK16 knockout or pharmacological inhibition significantly curtailed colorectal cancer proliferation and c-MYC expression in in vivo animal models.

CONCLUSION: We discovered that STK16 phosphorylates c-MYC at serine 452, hindering its degradation via the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway. STK16 inhibition, either genetically or pharmacologically, effectively curtails cancer growth and c-MYC expression in vivo. These findings highlight STK16 as a potential therapeutic target for colorectal cancer.

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