Research Topics

Genomes and Genes


Regulation of tumor promotion by RasGRP1


Principal Investigator: Patricia Lorenzo
Abstract: Tumor promotion is a reversible and non-genotoxic stage in carcinogenesis and, as a consequence, the various components of this process are central targets for the development of mechanism-based anti- cancer and chemopreventive drugs. In the mouse skin model of chemical-induced activating mutation in the H-Ras gene. The nature of the interaction between phorbol esters and Ras signaling in tumor promotion has not been defined yet. Although protein kinase C (PKC) has historically been considered responsible for all phorbol ester actions, the discovery of non-PKC receptors casts doubts on the assumption of an exclusive PKC-mediated effect. We have recently characterized the novel Ras activator RasGRP1 as a high affinity receptor for phorbol esters, and our preliminary data indicate that RasGRP1 is expressed in the epidermal keratinocyte, the target cell in chemical carcinogenesis. These data suggest that RasGRP1 may represent a novel and direct link between Ras and phorbol esters can modulate RasGRP1 activity in keratinocytes, and that this modulation contributes to the mechanisms activated by tumor promotion during cancer formation. The specific aims to test the hypothesis are: (1) to define the functional role of RasGRP on the responses induced by phorbol esters in keratinocytes, including growth arrest, differentiation, and apoptosis; (2) to determine if RasGRP1 signaling is altered in initiated (H-Ras-mutated) keratinocytes, either by changes in the level of expression of RasGRP1, changes in substrate affinity, or both; and (3) to establish in vivo models to investigate the role of RasGRP1 in skin carcinogenesis and tumor promotion (knockout and transgenic animals for RasGRP1). Taken together, the results of this study have the potential to unravel a new molecular target for the transmission of phorbol ester-signals involved in carcinogenesis. This information could lead to future approaches for developing novel chemopreventive compounds targeted to tumor promotion events.
Funding Period: 2002-08-01 - 2003-07-31
more information: NIH RePORT