© 2016 Pytel et al. The unfolded protein response (UPR) regulates cell fate following exposure of cells to endoplasmic reticulum stresses. PERK, a UPR protein kinase, regulates protein synthesis and while linked with cell survival, exhibits activities associated with both tumor progression and tumor suppression. For example, while cells lacking PERK are sensitive to UPR-dependent cell death, acute activation of PERK triggers both apoptosis and cell cycle arrest, which would be expected to contribute tumor suppressive activity. We have evaluated these activities in the BRAF-dependent melanoma and provide evidence revealing a complex role for PERK in melanoma where a 50% reduction is permissive for Braf V600E -dependent transformation, while complete inhibition is tumor suppressive. Consistently, PERK mutants identified in human melanoma are hypomorphic with dominant inhibitory function and pro-tumorigenic. Strikingly, we demonstrate that small molecule PERK inhibitors exhibit single agent efficacy against Braf V600E -dependent tumors highlighting the clinical value of targeting PERK.
Pytel, D., Gao, Y., Mackiewicz, K., Katlinskaya, Y. V., Staschke, K. A., Paredes, M. C. G., … Diehl, J. A. (2016). PERK Is a Haploinsufficient Tumor Suppressor: Gene Dose Determines Tumor-Suppressive Versus Tumor Promoting Properties of PERK in Melanoma. PLoS Genetics, 12(12). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1006518