J Biol Chem. 2020 Dec 11;295(50):16906-16919. doi: 10.1074/jbc.RA120.014831. Epub 2020 Oct 15.
Kinases are critical components of intracellular signaling pathways and have been extensively investigated with regard to their roles in cancer. p21-activated kinase-1 (PAK1) is a serine/threonine kinase that has been previously implicated in numerous biological processes, such as cell migration, cell cycle progression, cell motility, invasion, and angiogenesis, in glioma and other cancers. However, the signaling network linked to PAK1 is not fully defined. We previously reported a large-scale yeast genetic interaction screen using toxicity as a readout to identify candidate PAK1 genetic interactions. En masse transformation of the PAK1 gene into 4,653 homozygous diploid Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast deletion mutants identified ∼400 candidates that suppressed yeast toxicity. Here we selected 19 candidate PAK1 genetic interactions that had human orthologs and were expressed in glioma for further examination in mammalian cells, brain slice cultures, and orthotopic glioma models. RNAi and pharmacological inhibition of potential PAK1 interactors confirmed that DPP4, KIF11, mTOR, PKM2, SGPP1, TTK, and YWHAE regulate PAK1-induced cell migration and revealed the importance of genes related to the mitotic spindle, proteolysis, autophagy, and metabolism in PAK1-mediated glioma cell migration, drug resistance, and proliferation. AKT1 was further identified as a downstream mediator of the PAK1-TTK genetic interaction. Taken together, these data provide a global view of PAK1-mediated signal transduction pathways and point to potential new drug targets for glioma therapy.