Heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein H blocks MST2-mediated apoptosis in cancer cells by regulating A-Raf transcription.
Rauch J., O'Neill E., Mack B., Matthias C., Munz M., Kolch W., Gires O.
A-Raf belongs to the family of oncogenic Raf kinases that are involved in mitogenic signaling by activating the mitogen-activated protein (MAP)/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) kinase (MEK)-ERK pathway. Low kinase activity of A-Raf toward MEK suggested that A-Raf might have alternative functions. Here, we show that A-Raf prevents cancer cell apoptosis contingent on the expression of the heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein H (hnRNP H) splice factor, which is required for the correct transcription and expression of a-raf. Apoptosis was prevented by A-Raf through sequestration and inactivation of the proapoptotic MST2 kinase. Small interfering RNA-mediated knockdown of hnRNP H or A-Raf resulted in MST2-dependent apoptosis. In contrast, enforced expression of either hnRNP H or A-Raf partially counteracted apoptosis induced by etoposide. In vivo expression studies of colon specimens corroborated the overexpression of hnRNP H in malignant tissues and its correlation with A-Raf levels. Our findings define a novel mechanism that is usurped in tumor cells to escape naturally imposed apoptotic signals.