Tumor suppressor activity of klotho in breast cancer is revealed by structure-function analysis

Hagai Ligumsky, Tami Rubinek, Keren Merenbakh-Lamin, Adva Yeheskel, Rotem Sertchook, Shiri Shahmoon, Sarit Aviel-Ronen, Ido Wolf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Klotho is a transmembrane protein containing two internal repeats, KL1 and KL2, both displaying significant homology to members of the b-glycosidase family. Klotho is expressed in the kidney, brain, and various endocrine tissues, but can also be cleaved and act as a circulating hormone. Klotho is an essential cofactor for binding of fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23) to the FGF receptor and can also inhibit the insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) pathway. Data from a wide array of malignancies indicate klotho as a tumor suppressor; however, the structure-function relationships governing its tumor suppressor activities have not been deciphered. Here, the tumor suppressor activities of the KL1 and KL2 domains were examined. Over-expression of either klotho or KL1, but not of KL2, inhibited colony formation by MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cells. Moreover, in vivo administration of KL1 was not only well tolerated but significantly slowed tumor formation in nude mice. Further studies indicated that KL1, but not KL2, interacted with the IGF-1R and inhibited the IGF-1 pathway. Based on computerized structural modeling, klotho constructs were generated in which critical amino acids have been mutated. Interestingly, the mutated proteins retained their tumor suppressor activity but showed reduced ability to modulate FGF23 signaling. These data indicate differential activity of the klotho domains, KL1 and KL2, in breast cancer and reveal that the tumor suppressor activities of klotho can be dissected from its physiologic activities. Implications: These findings pave the way for a rational design of safe klotho-based molecules for the treatment of breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1398-1407
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Cancer Research
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2015
Externally publishedYes


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