Research Papers:

PAK1-mediated MORC2 phosphorylation promotes gastric tumorigenesis

Guiling Wang, Yanyan Song, Tong Liu, Chunyu Wang, Qing Zhang, Furong Liu, Xinze Cai, Zhifeng Miao, Hongde Xu, Huimian Xu, Liu Cao and Feng Li _

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Oncotarget. 2015; 6:9877-9886. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.3185

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Guiling Wang1, Yanyan Song1, Tong Liu1, Chunyu Wang1, Qing Zhang1, Furong Liu1, Xinze Cai1, Zhifeng Miao2, Hongde Xu1, Huimian Xu2, Liu Cao1, Feng Li1

1Department of Cell Biology, Key Laboratory of Cell Biology, Ministry of Public Health, and Key Laboratory of Medical Cell Biology, Ministry of Education, China Medical University, Shenyang, China

2Department of Surgical Oncology and General Surgery, First Hospital of China Medical University, Shenyang, China

Correspondence to:

Feng Li, e-mail: [email protected]

Guiling Wang, e-mail: [email protected]

Keywords: MORC2, phosphorylation, P21-activated kinase 1(PAK1), gastric cancer

Received: November 23, 2014     Accepted: January 23, 2015     Published: March 21, 2015


To date, microrchidia (MORC) family CW-type zinc-finger 2 (MORC2), has been found to be involved in p21-activated kinase1 (PAK1) pathway to maintain genomic integrity. Here, we explore its novel role in cancer. We demonstrate that PAK1-mediated MORC2 phosphorylation promotes cell cycle progression, defective phosphorylation of MORC2-S677A results in attenuated cell proliferation and tumorigenicity of gastric cancer cells, which is significantly enhanced in overexpression of phospho-mimic MORC2-S677E form, suggesting the importance of MORC2 phosphorylation in tumorigenesis. More importantly, phosphorylation of MORC2 correlates positively with PAK1 expression in clinical gastric cancer. Furthermore, high expression of PAK1 and phosphorylation of MORC2 appear to be associated with poor prognosis of clinical gastric cancer. Collectively, these findings revealed a novel function of MORC2 phosphorylation in promoting gastric cell proliferation in vitro and tumorigenesis in vivo, suggesting that blocking PAK1-mediated MORC2 phosphorylation might be a potential therapeutic strategy for gastric tumorigenesis.

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