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Pro-metastatic splicing of Ron proto-oncogene mRNA can be reversed: Therapeutic potential of bifunctional oligonucleotides and indole derivatives

Ghigna, C.; De Toledo, M.; Bonomi, S.; Valacca, C.; Gallo, S.; Apicella, M.; Eperon, I.; Tazi, J.; Biamonti, G.

RNA Biol

2010-07-17 / vol 7 / pages 495-503

Abstract

Alternative splicing is a key molecular mechanism for increasing the complexity of the human transcriptome. Nearly all human genes are regulated by alternative splicing and the deregulation of this process has a causative role in various human diseases, including cancer. The discovery that alternatively spliced isoforms of several genes are expressed selectively in tumour cells opened the exciting possibility that pharmacological treatment of aberrant splicing could lead to new anti-cancer therapeutic approaches. An alternatively spliced isoform of a scatter factor receptor and protooncogene, Ron, accumulates during tumour progression of epithelial tissues and is able to confer an invasive phenotype to the expressing cells. This isoform, called DeltaRon, originates from skipping of exon 11, and this specific splicing event is controlled by the expression level of the splicing factor and proto-oncogene SF2/ASF. Over-expression of SF2/ASF, which occurs frequently in various human tumors, induces the production of DeltaRon and activates the epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT), leading to increased cell motility. In this paper, we have used targeted oligonucleotide enhancers of splicing (TOES) to recruit positive splicing factors to Ron exon 11 and thereby stimulate its inclusion. As an alternative approach, we have used selected indole derivatives that target SF2/ASF splicing activity. Both treatments correct aberrant DeltaRon splicing, restoring the incorporation of Ron exon 11. Notably, indole derivatives are also able to affect the invasive phenotype of the cells. Thus, these treatments may have therapeutic applications for anti-cancer purposes.

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1555-8584 (Electronic) 1547-6286 (Linking)

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