Ribosomopathy-like properties of murine and human cancers

Sucheta Kulkarni, James M. Dolezal, Huabo Wang, Laura Jackson, Jie Lu, Brian P. Frodey, Atinuke Dosunmu-Ogunbi, Youjun Li, Marc Fromherz, Audry Kang, Lucas Santana-Santos, Panayiotis V. Benos, Edward V. Prochownik*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Ribosomopathies comprise a heterogeneous group of hematologic and developmental disorders, often characterized by bone marrow failure, skeletal and other developmental abnormalities and cancer predisposition. They are associated with mutations and/or haploinsufficiencies of ribosomal proteins (RPs) and inefficient ribosomal RNA (rRNA) processing. The resulting ribosomal stress induces the canonical p19ARF/Mdm2/p53 tumor suppressor pathway leading to proliferative arrest and/or apoptosis. It has been proposed that this pathway is then inactivated during subsequent neoplastic evolution. We show here that two murine models of hepatoblastoma (HB) and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) unexpectedly possess features that mimic the ribosomopathies. These include loss of the normal stoichiometry of RP transcripts and proteins and the accumulation of unprocessed rRNA precursors. Silencing of p19ARF, cytoplasmic sequestration of p53, binding to and inactivation of Mdm2 by free RPs, and up-regulation of the pro-survival protein Bcl-2 may further cooperate to drive tumor growth and survival. Consistent with this notion, re-instatement of constitutive p19ARF expression in the HB model completely suppressed tumorigenesis. In >2000 cases of human HCC, colorectal, breast, and prostate cancer, RP transcript deregulation was a frequent finding. In HCC and breast cancer, the severity of this dysregulation was associated with inferior survival. In HCC, the presence of RP gene mutations, some of which were identical to those previously reported in ribosomopathies, were similarly negatively correlated with long-term survival. Taken together, our results indicate that many if not all cancers possess ribosomopathy-like features that may affect their biological behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0182705
JournalPloS one
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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