Oncogene-dependent sloppiness in mRNA translation.


mRNA translation is a highly conserved and tightly controlled mechanism for protein synthesis. Despite protein quality control mechanisms, amino acid shortage in melanoma induces aberrant proteins by ribosomal frameshifting. The extent and the underlying mechanisms related to this phenomenon are yet unknown. Here, we show that tryptophan depletion-induced ribosomal frameshifting is a widespread phenomenon in cancer. We termed this event sloppiness and strikingly observed its association with MAPK pathway hyperactivation. Sloppiness is stimulated by RAS activation in primary cells, suppressed by pharmacological inhibition of the oncogenic MAPK pathway in sloppy cells, and restored in cells with acquired resistance to MAPK pathway inhibition. Interestingly, sloppiness causes aberrant peptide presentation at the cell surface, allowing recognition and specific killing of drug-resistant cancer cells by T lymphocytes. Thus, while oncogenes empower cancer progression and aggressiveness, they also expose a vulnerability by provoking the production of aberrant peptides through sloppiness.

More about this publication

Molecular cell
  • Volume 81
  • Issue nr. 22
  • Pages 4709-4721.e9
  • Publication date 18-11-2021

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