Vav1 and mutant K-Ras synergize in the early development of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma in mice

Yaser Salaymeh, Marganit Farago, Shulamit Sebban, Batel Shalom, Eli Pikarsky, Shulamit Katzav*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


To explore the contribution of Vav1, a hematopoietic signal transducer, to pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) development, we generated transgenic mouse lines expressing, Vav1, K-RasG12D, or both K-RasG12D and Vav1 in pancreatic acinar cells. Co-expression of Vav1 and K-RasG12D synergistically enhanced acinar-to-ductal metaplasia (ADM) formation, far exceeding the number of lesions developed in K-RasG12D mice. Mice expressing only Vav1 did not develop ADM. Moreover, the incidence of PDAC in K-RasG12D/ Vav1 was significantly higher than in K-RasG12D mice. Discontinuing Vav1 expression in K-RasG12D/Vav1 mice elicited a marked regression of malignant lesions in the pancreas, demonstrating Vav1 is required for generation and maintenance of ADM. Rac1-GTP levels in the K-RasG12D/Vav1 mice pancreas clearly demonstrated an increase in Rac1 activity. Treatment of K-RasG12D and K-RasG12D/Vav1 mice with azathioprine, an immune-suppressor drug which inhibits Vav1's activity as a GDP/GTP exchange factor, dramatically reduced the number of malignant lesions. These results suggest that Vav1 plays a role in the development of PDAC when co-expressed with K-RasG12D via its activity as a GEF for Rac1GTPase.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numbere202000661
JournalLife Science Alliance
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2020

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© 2020 Salaymeh et al.


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