Journal article

RIP4 inhibits STAT3 signaling to sustain lung adenocarcinoma differentiation

Loss of epithelial differentiation and extracellular matrix (ECM) remodeling are known to facilitate cancer progression and are associated with poor prognosis in patients with lung cancer. We have identified Receptor-interacting serine/threonine protein kinase 4 (RIP4) as a regulator of tumor differentiation in lung adenocarcinoma (AC). Bioinformatics analyses of human lung AC samples showed that poorly differentiated tumors express low levels of RIP4, whereas high levels are associated with better overall survival. In vitro, lung tumor cells expressing reduced RIP4 levels showed enhanced activation of STAT3 signaling and had a greater ability to invade through collagen. In contrast, overexpression of RIP4 inhibited STAT3 activation, which abrogated interleukin-6-dependent induction of lysyl oxidase, a collagen cross-linking enzyme. In an autochthonous mouse model of lung AC initiated by Kras(G12D) expression with loss of p53, Rip4 knockdown tumors progressed to a poorly differentiated state marked by an increase in Hmga2, reduced Ttf1, and enrichment of genes regulating extracellular remodeling and Jak-Stat signaling. Tail vein injections of cells overexpressing Rip4 showed a reduced potential to invade and form tumors, which was restored by co-expression of Stat3. Altogether, our work has identified that loss of RIP4 enhances STAT3 signaling in lung cancer cells, promoting the expression of ECM remodeling genes and cancer dedifferentiation.


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