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Prp8 regulates oncogene-induced hyperplastic growth in Drosophila

Cecilia H. Fernández-Espartero1, Alberto Rizzo1,a, Alexander D. Fulford1,a, Julia Falo-Sanjuan2, Damien Goutte-Gattat1, and Paulo S. Ribeiro1,b

1Centre for Tumour Biology, Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary University of London, Charterhouse Square, London EC1M 6BQ, UK

2Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3DY, UK

aThese authors contributed equally to this work

bCorresponding author:

This article was published in Development under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium provided that the original work is properly attributed.

Development, 145(22):dev162156. [full text]


Although developmental signalling pathways control tumourigenic growth, the cellular mechanisms that abnormally proliferating cells rely on are still largely unknown. Drosophila melanogaster is a genetically tractable model that is used to study how specific genetic changes confer advantageous tumourigenic traits. Despite recent efforts, the role of deubiquitylating enzymes in cancer is particularly understudied. We performed a Drosophila in vivo RNAi screen to identify deubiquitylating enzymes that modulate RasV12-induced hyperplastic growth. We identified the spliceosome core component Prp8 as a crucial regulator of Ras-, EGFR-, Notch- or RET-driven hyperplasia. Loss of prp8 function alone decreased cell proliferation, increased cell death, and affected cell differentiation and polarity. In hyperplasia, Prp8 supported tissue overgrowth independently of caspase-dependent cell death. The depletion of prp8 efficiently blocked Ras-, EGFR- and Notch-driven tumours but, in contrast, enhanced tumours that driven by oncogenic RET, suggesting a context-specific role in hyperplasia. These data show, for the first time, that Prp8 regulates hyperplasia, and extend recent observations on the potential role of the spliceosome in cancer. Our findings suggest that targeting Prp8 could be beneficial in specific tumour types.

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