Ph.D., Michigan State University
Dysregulation of nucleocytoplasmic shuttling is commonly observed in cancers and emerging as a cancer hallmark for the development of anticancer therapeutic strategies. Despite its severe adverse effects, selinexor, a selective first-in-class inhibitor of the common nuclear export receptor XPO1, was developed to target nucleocytoplasmic protein shuttling and received accelerated FDA approval in 2019 in combination with dexamethasone as a fifth-line therapeutic option for adults with relapsed refractory multiple myeloma (RRMM). To explore innovative targets in nucleocytoplasmic shuttling, we propose that the aberrant contextual determinants of nucleocytoplasmic shuttling, such as PSPC1 (Paraspeckle component 1), TGIF1 (TGF-β Induced Factor Homeobox 1), NPM1 (Nucleophosmin), Mortalin and EBP50, that modulate shuttling (or cargo) proteins with opposite tumorigenic functions in different subcellular locations could be theranostic targets for developing anticancer strategies. For instance, PSPC1 was recently shown to be the contextual determinant of the TGF-β prometastatic switch and PTK6/β-catenin reciprocal oncogenic nucleocytoplasmic shuttling during hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) progression. The innovative nucleocytoplasmic shuttling inhibitor PSPC1 C-terminal 131 polypeptide (PSPC1-CT131), which was developed to target both the shuttling determinant PSPC1 and the shuttling protein PTK6, maintained their tumor-suppressive characteristics and exhibited synergistic effects on tumor suppression in HCC cells and mouse models. In summary, targeting the contextual determinants of nucleocytoplasmic shuttling with cargo proteins having opposite tumorigenic functions in different subcellular locations could be an innovative strategy for developing new therapeutic biomarkers and agents to improve cancer therapy.