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PLoS One. 2011;6(8):e22607. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0022607. Epub 2011 Aug 4.

Live-cell microscopy reveals small molecule inhibitor effects on MAPK pathway dynamics.

Author information

1
Department of Cell Regulation, Genentech, Inc, South San Francisco, California, United States of America.

Abstract

Oncogenic mutations in the mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway are prevalent in human tumors, making this pathway a target of drug development efforts. Recently, ATP-competitive Raf inhibitors were shown to cause MAPK pathway activation via Raf kinase priming in wild-type BRaf cells and tumors, highlighting the need for a thorough understanding of signaling in the context of small molecule kinase inhibitors. Here, we present critical improvements in cell-line engineering and image analysis coupled with automated image acquisition that allow for the simultaneous identification of cellular localization of multiple MAPK pathway components (KRas, CRaf, Mek1 and Erk2). We use these assays in a systematic study of the effect of small molecule inhibitors across the MAPK cascade either as single agents or in combination. Both Raf inhibitor priming as well as the release from negative feedback induced by Mek and Erk inhibitors cause translocation of CRaf to the plasma membrane via mechanisms that are additive in pathway activation. Analysis of Erk activation and sub-cellular localization upon inhibitor treatments reveals differential inhibition and activation with the Raf inhibitors AZD628 and GDC0879 respectively. Since both single agent and combination studies of Raf and Mek inhibitors are currently in the clinic, our assays provide valuable insight into their effects on MAPK signaling in live cells.

PMID:
21829637
PMCID:
PMC3150364
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0022607
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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