Src is an oncoprotein which has been implicated in a number of human malignancies in which it has been shown to be overexpressed and highly activated. The precise mechanism of Src transformation, however, is still poorly understood. We hypothesized that Ras and other farnesylated proteins may mediate Src transformation. To test this hypothesis, v-Src-transfected rat fibroblasts (3Y1) were treated every 72 h with a 15 μM concentration of a farnesyl-transferase inhibitor (FTI). At 2 weeks, a focus formation assay was performed to assess transformation potential. Untreated and FTI-treated v-Src-transfected 3Y1 cells formed a mean of 39 (±2.6) and 29.8 (±2.9) foci per well, respectively. This 24% decrease was judged to be statistically significant (P = 0.02). Moreover, foci (>90%) in the FTI-treated wells were also consistently smaller than foci in the untreated wells. Western blots with antibody directed toward H-Ras confirmed complete inhibition of Ras farnesylation in the treated cell lines. The specificity of this inhibition was verified by Western blot using antibody specific for Rap1A. The transforming potential of v-Src is inhibited, but not eliminated by FTI treatment. This suggests that v-Src transformation is mediated in part by farnesylated proteins, one of which may be Ras.
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