The RNA-editing enzyme ADAR promotes lung adenocarcinoma migration and invasion by stabilizing FAK

Elianna M. Amin, Yuan Liu, Su Deng, Kay See Tan, Neel Chudgar, Marty W. Mayo, Francisco Sanchez-Vega, Prasad S. Adusumilli, Nikolaus Schultz, David R. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Large-scale, genome-wide studies report that RNA binding proteins are altered in cancers, but it is unclear how these proteins control tumor progression. We found that the RNA-editing protein ADAR (adenosine deaminase acting on double-stranded RNA) acted as a facilitator of lung adenocarcinoma (LUAD) progression through its ability to stabilize transcripts encoding focal adhesion kinase (FAK). In samples from 802 stage I LUAD patients, increased abundance of ADAR at both the mRNA and protein level correlated with tumor recurrence. Knocking down ADAR in LUAD cells suppressed their mesenchymal properties, migration, and invasion in culture. Analysis of gene expression patterns in LUAD cells identified ADAR-associated enrichment of a subset of genes involved in cellmigration pathways; among these, FAK is the most notable gene whose expression was increased in the presence of ADAR. Molecular analyses revealed that ADAR posttranscriptionally increased FAK protein abundance by binding to the FAK transcript and editing a specific intronic site that resulted in the increased stabilization of FAK mRNA. Pharmacological inhibition of FAK blocked ADAR-induced invasiveness of LUAD cells, suggesting a potential therapeutic application for LUAD that has a high abundance of ADAR.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbereaah3941
JournalScience Signaling
Issue number497
StatePublished - Sep 19 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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