Protein geranylgeranyltransferase type I (GGTase-I) is responsible for the posttranslational lipidation of CAAX proteins such as RHOA, RAC1, and cell division cycle 42 (CDC42). Inhibition of GGTase-I has been suggested as a strategy to treat cancer and a host of other diseases. Although several GGTase-I inhibitors (GGTIs) have been synthesized, they have very different properties, and the effects of GGTIs and GGTase-I deficiency are unclear. One concern is that inhibiting GGTase-I might lead to severe toxicity. In this study, we determined the effects of GGTase-I deficiency on cell viability and K-RAS–induced cancer development in mice. Inactivating the gene for the critical β subunit of GGTase-I eliminated GGTase-I activity, disrupted the actin cytoskeleton, reduced cell migration, and blocked the proliferation of fibroblasts expressing oncogenic K-RAS. Moreover, the absence of GGTase-I activity reduced lung tumor formation, eliminated myeloproliferative phenotypes, and increased survival of mice in which expression of oncogenic K-RAS was switched on in lung cells and myeloid cells. Interestingly, several cell types remained viable in the absence of GGTase-I, and myelopoiesis appeared to function normally. These findings suggest that inhibiting GGTase-I may be a useful strategy to treat K-RAS–induced malignancies.
Anna-Karin M. Sjogren, Karin M.E. Andersson, Meng Liu, Briony A. Cutts, Christin Karlsson, Annika M. Wahlstrom, Martin Dalin, Carolyn Weinbaum, Patrick J. Casey, Andrej Tarkowski, Birgitta Swolin, Stephen G. Young, Martin O. Bergo