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Mol Cancer Ther. 2011 Sep;10(9):1740-50. doi: 10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-11-0309. Epub 2011 Jun 22.

Discovery of a small molecule targeting IRA2 deletion in budding yeast and neurofibromin loss in malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor cells.

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Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Norris Cotton Cancer Center, Dartmouth Medical School, 7650 Remsen, Hanover, NH 03755, USA.


Malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor (MPNST) is a life-threatening complication of neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1). NF1 is caused by mutation in the gene encoding neurofibromin, a negative regulator of Ras signaling. There are no effective pharmacologic therapies for MPNST. To identify new therapeutic approaches targeting this dangerous malignancy, we developed assays in NF1(+/+) and NF1(-/-) MPNST cell lines and in budding yeast lacking the NF1 homologue IRA2 (ira2Δ). Here, we describe UC1, a small molecule that targets NF1(-/-) cell lines and ira2Δ budding yeast. By using yeast genetics, we identified NAB3 as a high-copy suppressor of UC1 sensitivity. NAB3 encodes an RNA binding protein that associates with the C-terminal domain of RNA Pol II and plays a role in the termination of nonpolyadenylated RNA transcripts. Strains with deletion of IRA2 are sensitive to genetic inactivation of NAB3, suggesting an interaction between Ras signaling and Nab3-dependent transcript termination. This work identifies a lead compound and a possible target pathway for NF1-associated MPNST, and shows a novel model system approach to identify and validate target pathways for cancer cells in which NF1 loss drives tumor formation.

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