Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is a common genetic disorder caused by mutations in the NF1 locus, which encodes neurofibromin, a negative regulator of Ras. Patients with NF1 develop numerous neurofibromas, which contain many inflammatory mast cells that contribute to tumor formation. Subsequent to c-Kit stimulation, signaling from Ras to Rac1/2 to the MAPK pathway appears to be responsible for multiple hyperactive mast cell phenotypes; however, the specific effectors that mediate these functions remain uncertain. p21-activated kinase 1 (Pak1) is a downstream mediator of Rac1/2 that has been implicated as a positive regulator of MAPK pathway members and is a modulator of cell growth and cytoskel-etal dynamics. Using an intercross of Pak 1 -/- mice with Nf1 +/- mice, we determined that Pak1 regulates hyperactive Ras-dependent proliferation via a Pak1/ Erk pathway, whereas a Pak1/p38 pathway is required for the increased migration in Nf1 +/- mast cells. Furthermore, we confirmed that loss of Pak1 corrects the dermal accumulation of Nf1 +/- mast cells in vivo to levels found in wild-type mice. Thus, Pak1 is a novel mast cell mediator that functions as a key node in the MAPK signaling network and potential therapeutic target in NF1 patients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology