A Platform of Synthetic Lethal Gene Interaction Networks Reveals that the GNAQ Uveal Melanoma Oncogene Controls the Hippo Pathway through FAK

March 18, 2019

Xiaodong Feng, Nadia Arang, Damiano Cosimo Rigiracciolo, Joo Sang Lee, Huwate Yeerna, Zhiyong Wang, Simone Lubrano, Ayush Kishore, Jonathan A Pachter, Gabriele M König, Marcello Maggiolini, Evi Kostenis, David D Schlaepfer, Pablo Tamayo, Qianming Chen, Eytan Ruppin, J Silvio Gutkind

Activating mutations in GNAQ/GNA11, encoding Gαq G proteins, are initiating oncogenic events in uveal melanoma (UM). However, there are no effective therapies for UM. Using an integrated bioinformatics pipeline, we found that PTK2, encoding focal adhesion kinase (FAK), represents a candidate synthetic lethal gene with GNAQ activation. We show that Gαq activates FAK through TRIO-RhoA non-canonical Gαq-signaling, and genetic ablation or pharmacological inhibition of FAK inhibits UM growth. Analysis of the FAK-regulated transcriptome demonstrated that GNAQ stimulates YAP through FAK. Dissection of the underlying mechanism revealed that FAK regulates YAP by tyrosine phosphorylation of MOB1, inhibiting core Hippo signaling. Our findings establish FAK as a potential therapeutic target for UM and other Gαq-driven pathophysiologies that involve unrestrained YAP function.

Read the full publication on Cell