RAS oncogenic mutations are common in human cancers, but RAS proteins have been difficult to target. We sought to identify pharmacological agents to block the RAS oncogenic signaling by a distinct mechanism. Since the biological activity of RAS proteins rely upon lipid modifications and RAS regulates lipid metabolisms in cancer cells, we screened a bioactive lipid library using a RAS specific cell viability assay. We report the discovery of a new class of inhibitors for RAS transformation. Compounds in the class represented by endocannabinoid N-arachidonoyl dopamine (NADA) can induce cell oncosis, independent of its ability to engage cannabinoid receptors. Further analyses show that NADA is more active in inhibiting the NRAS transformation and signaling than that of KRAS4B. Mechanistically, NADA blocks the plasma membrane translocation of NRAS, but not that of KRAS4B. In addition, NADA inhibits the plasma membrane translocation and neoplastic transformation of oncogenic KRAS4A. Interestingly, NADA also redistributes the cytoplasmic NRAS to the Golgi apparatus in a palmitoylation-dependent manner. The results indicate that NADA inhibits NRAS and KRAS4A plasma membrane translocation by targeting a novel molecular process. The new findings would help to develop novel targeted therapies for a broad range of human cancers.
- Received June 29, 2016.
- Revision received October 7, 2016.
- Accepted October 9, 2016.
- Copyright ©2016, American Association for Cancer Research.