Cancer cell 2018 03 2933(4) 736-751.e5 pii 10.1016/j.ccell.2018.02.011
Genetic linkage analysis previously suggested that GKAP, a scaffold protein of the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR), was a potential modifier of invasion in a mouse model of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor (PanNET). Here, we establish that GKAP governs invasive growth and treatment response to NMDAR inhibitors of PanNET via its pivotal role in regulating NMDAR pathway activity. Combining genetic knockdown of GKAP and pharmacological inhibition of NMDAR, we implicate as downstream effectors FMRP and HSF1, which along with GKAP demonstrably support invasiveness of PanNET and pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma cancer cells. Furthermore, we distilled genome-wide expression profiles orchestrated by the NMDAR-GKAP signaling axis, identifying transcriptome signatures in tumors with low/inhibited NMDAR activity that significantly associate with favorable patient prognosis in several cancer types.