Molecular chaperone complexes with antagonizing activities regulate stability and activity of the tumor suppressor LKB1

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LKB1is a tumor suppressor that is constitutionally mutated in a cancer-prone condition, called Peutz-Jeghers syndrome, as well as somatically inactivated in a sizeable fraction of lung and cervical neoplasms. TheLKB1gene encodes a serine/threonine kinase that associates with the pseudokinase STRAD (STE-20-related pseudokinase) and the scaffolding protein MO25, the formation of this heterotrimeric complex promotes allosteric activation of LKB1. We have previously reported that the molecular chaperone heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) binds to and stabilizes LKB1. Combining pharmacological studies and RNA interference approaches, we now provide evidence that the co-chaperone Cdc37 participates to the regulation of LKB1 stability. It is known that the Hsp90-Cdc37 complex recognizes a surface within the N-terminal catalytic lobe of client protein kinases. In agreement with this finding, we found that the chaperones Hsp90 and Cdc37 interact with an LKB1 isoform that differs in the C-terminal region, but not with a novel LKB1 variant that lacks a portion of the kinase N-terminal lobe domain. Reconstitution of the two complexes LKB1-STRAD and LKB1-Hsp90-Cdc37 with recombinant proteins revealed that the former is catalytically active whereas the latter is inactive. Furthermore, consistent with a documented repressor function of Hsp90, LKB1 kinase activity was transiently stimulated upon dissociation of Hsp90. Finally, disruption of the LKB1-Hsp90 complex favors the recruitment of both Hsp/Hsc70 and the U-box dependent E3 ubiquitin ligase CHIP (carboxyl terminus of Hsc70-interacting protein) that triggers LKB1 degradation. Taken together, our results establish that the Hsp90-Cdc37 complex controls both the stability and activity of the LKB1 kinase. This study further shows that two chaperone complexes with antagonizing activities, Hsp90-Cdc37 and Hsp/Hsc70-CHIP, finely control the cellular level of LKB1 protein.

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