Muc4 loss mitigates epidermal growth factor receptor activity essential for PDAC tumorigenesis

Rakesh Bhatia, Jawed Akhtar Siddiqui, Koelina Ganguly, Christopher M. Thompson, Andrew Cannon, Abhijit Aithal, Naveenkumar Perumal, Shailendra K. Maurya, Xiaoqi Li, Jesse L. Cox, Channabasavaiah B. Gurumurthy, Satyanarayana Rachagani, Maneesh Jain, Mohd Wasim Nasser, Surinder K. Batra, Sushil Kumar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Mucin4 (MUC4) appears early during pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia-1 (PanIN1), coinciding with the expression of epidermal growth factor receptor-1 (EGFR). The EGFR signaling is required for the onset of Kras-driven pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC); however, the players and mechanisms involved in sustained EGFR signaling in early PanIN lesions remain elusive. We generated a unique Esai-CRISPR-based Muc4 conditional knockout murine model to evaluate its effect on PDAC pathology. The Muc4 depletion in the autochthonous murine model carrying K-ras and p53 mutations (K-rasG12D; TP53R172H; Pdx-1cre, KPC) to generate the KPCM4−/− murine model showed a significant delay in the PanIN lesion formation with a significant reduction (p < 0.01) in EGFR (Y1068) and ERK1/2 (T202/Y204) phosphorylation. Further, a significant decrease (p < 0.01) in Sox9 expression in PanIN lesions of KPCM4−/− mice suggested the impairment of acinar-to-ductal metaplasia in Muc4-depleted cells. The biochemical analyses demonstrated that MUC4, through its juxtamembrane EGF-like domains, interacts with the EGFR ectodomain, and its cytoplasmic tail prevents EGFR ubiquitination and subsequent proteasomal degradation upon ligand stimulation, leading to sustained downstream oncogenic signaling. Targeting the MUC4 and EGFR interacting interface provides a promising strategy to improve the efficacy of EGFR-targeted therapies in PDAC and other MUC4-expressing malignancies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)759-770
Number of pages12
Issue number10
StatePublished - Mar 3 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research


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