Musashi-2 (MSI2) regulates epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) expression and response to EGFR inhibitors in EGFR-mutated non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)

Petr Makhov, Emmanuelle Nicolas, Hossein Borghaei, Martin Edelman, Erica A. Golemis, Igor Bychkov, Bulat Faezov, Alexander Y. Deneka, Alexander E. Kudinov, Rohan Brebion, Eleanor Avril, Kathy Cai, Leonid V. Kharin, Mark Voloshin, Elena Frantsiyants, Nikolay Karnaukhov, Oleg I. Kit, Iuliia Topchu, Rushaniya Fazliyeva, Anna S. NikonovaIlya G. Serebriiskii, Essel Dulaimi, Yanis Boumber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) has limited treatment options. Expression of the RNA-binding protein (RBP) Musashi-2 (MSI2) is elevated in a subset of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) tumors upon progression, and drives NSCLC metastasis. We evaluated the mechanism of MSI2 action in NSCLC to gain therapeutically useful insights. Reverse phase protein array (RPPA) analysis of MSI2-depleted versus control KrasLA1/+; Trp53R172HΔG/+ NSCLC cell lines identified EGFR as a MSI2-regulated protein. MSI2 control of EGFR expression and activity in an NSCLC cell line panel was studied using RT-PCR, Western blots, and RNA immunoprecipitation. Functional consequences of MSI2 depletion were explored for cell growth and response to EGFR-targeting drugs, in vitro and in vivo. Expression relationships were validated using human tissue microarrays. MSI2 depletion significantly reduced EGFR protein expression, phosphorylation, or both. Comparison of protein and mRNA expression indicated a post-transcriptional activity of MSI2 in control of steady state levels of EGFR. RNA immunoprecipitation analysis demonstrated that MSI2 directly binds to EGFR mRNA, and sequence analysis predicted MSI2 binding sites in the murine and human EGFR mRNAs. MSI2 depletion selectively impaired cell proliferation in NSCLC cell lines with activating mutations of EGFR (EGFRmut). Further, depletion of MSI2 in combination with EGFR inhibitors such as erlotinib, afatinib, and osimertinib selectively reduced the growth of EGFRmut NSCLC cells and xenografts. EGFR and MSI2 were significantly co-expressed in EGFRmut human NSCLCs. These results define MSI2 as a direct regulator of EGFR protein expression, and suggest inhibition of MSI2 could be of clinical value in EGFRmut NSCLC.

Original languageEnglish
Article number29
Pages (from-to)29
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2021


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