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Elife. 2016 Sep 8;5. pii: e16432. doi: 10.7554/eLife.16432.

Interferon alpha-inducible protein 6 regulates NRASQ61K-induced melanomagenesis and growth.

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Department of Pathology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, United States.
Singapore Institute of Clinical Sciences, Agency for Science Technology and Research (A*STAR), Brenner Center for Molecular Medicine, Singapore, Singapore.


Mutations in the NRAS oncogene are present in up to 20% of melanoma. Here, we show that interferon alpha-inducible protein 6 (IFI6) is necessary for NRASQ61K-induced transformation and melanoma growth. IFI6 was transcriptionally upregulated by NRASQ61K, and knockdown of IFI6 resulted in DNA replication stress due to dysregulated DNA replication via E2F2. This stress consequentially inhibited cellular transformation and melanoma growth via senescence or apoptosis induction depending on the RB and p53 pathway status of the cells. NRAS-mutant melanoma were significantly more resistant to the cytotoxic effects of DNA replication stress-inducing drugs, and knockdown of IFI6 increased sensitivity to these drugs. Pharmacological inhibition of IFI6 expression by the MEK inhibitor trametinib, when combined with DNA replication stress-inducing drugs, blocked NRAS-mutant melanoma growth. Collectively, we demonstrate that IFI6, via E2F2 regulates DNA replication and melanoma development and growth, and this pathway can be pharmacologically targeted to inhibit NRAS-mutant melanoma.


DNA replication; RAS; cancer biology; human; melanoma

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