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Das, T.K., Cagan, R.L. (2017). KIF5B-RET Oncoprotein Signals through a Multi-kinase Signaling Hub.  Cell Rep. 20(10): 2368--2383.
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Gene fusions are increasingly recognized as important cancer drivers. The KIF5B-RET gene has been identified as a primary driver in a subset of lung adenocarcinomas. Targeting human KIF5B-RET to epithelia in Drosophila directed multiple aspects of transformation, including hyperproliferation, epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition, invasion, and extension of striking invadopodia-like processes. The KIF5B-RET-transformed human bronchial cell line showed similar aspects of transformation, including invadopodia-like processes. Through a combination of genetic and biochemical studies, we demonstrate that the kinesin and kinase domains of KIF5B-RET act together to establish an emergent microtubule and RAB-vesicle-dependent RET-SRC-EGFR-FGFR signaling hub. We demonstrate that drugs designed to inhibit RET alone work poorly in KIF5B-RET-transformed cells. However, combining the RET inhibitor sorafenib with drugs that target EGFR, microtubules, or FGFR led to strong efficacy in both Drosophila and human cell line KIF5B-RET models. This work demonstrates the utility of exploring the full biology of fusions to identify rational therapeutic strategies.

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Obtained with permission from Cell Press.
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PMC5590648 (PMC) (EuropePMC)
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    Cell Rep.
    Cell reports
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