To clarify the roles of a new aberrantly spliced transcript of FAK that lacks exon 26 (denoted -26-exon FAK) in human breast cancers.
Transcripts of FAK expressed in 102 human breast tumor tissues and 52 corresponding normal tissues were analyzed by RT-PCR and DNA sequencing, as well as agarose gel electrophoresis. The cDNA of -26-exon FAK was cloned and expressed in MCF-10A cells, and then the kinase activity, cellular localization and migration capability of FAK were examined by western blotting, immunofluorescent staining and migration assays, respectively. The expression levels of FAK were analyzed by western blotting in MCF-7 cells treated with TNF-α or in MCF-10A cells upon serum deprivation. The MCF-10A cells transfected with a plasmid expressing -26-exon FAK were cultured in serum-free medium and cell apoptosis was analyzed by flow cytometry.
The -26-exon FAK transcript was exclusively present in human breast tumor tissues and the encoded protein possessed the same kinase activity, cellular localization and cell migration-promoting ability as wild-type FAK. In MCF-7 cells treated with TNF-α, and in MCF-10A cells upon serum deprivation, the -26-exon FAK was resistant to proteolysis while wild-type FAK was largely cleaved. In addition, the -26-exon FAK, but not wild-type FAK, inhibited cell apoptosis.
The -26-exon FAK transcript, which is exclusively expressed in human breast tumor tissues, encodes a protein that possesses the same kinase activity and biological function as the wild-type FAK, but because it is resistant to the caspase-mediated cleavage that induces the proteolysis of the wild-type form, it ultimately prevents apoptosis.