Overexpression of synaptic vesicle protein Rab GTPase 3C promotes vesicular exocytosis and drug resistance in colorectal cancer cells

Yu Chan Chang, Chien Hsiu Li, Ming Hsien Chan, Chih Yeu Fang, Zhi Xuan Zhang, Chi Long Chen*, Michael Hsiao*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Rab GTPase 3C (RAB3C) is a peripheral membrane protein that is involved in membrane trafficking (vesicle formation) and cell movement. Recently, researchers have noted the exocytosis of RAB proteins, and their dysregulation is correlated with drug resistance and the altered tumor microenvironment in tumorigenesis. However, the molecular mechanisms of exocytotic RABs in the carcinogenicity of colorectal cancer (CRC) remain unknown. Researchers have used various in silico datasets to evaluate the expression profiles of RAB family members. We confirmed that RAB3C plays a key role in CRC progression. Its overexpression promotes exocytosis and is related to the resistance to several chemotherapeutic drugs. We established a proteomic dataset based on RAB3C, and found that dystrophin is one of the proteins that is upregulated with the overexpression of RAB3C. According to our results, RAB3C-induced dystrophin expression promotes vesicle formation and packaging. A connectivity map predicted that the cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2) agonists reverse RAB3C-associated drug resistance, and that these agonists have synergistic effects when combined with standard chemotherapy regimens. Moreover, we found high dystrophin expression levels in CRC patients with poor survival outcomes. A combination of the dystrophin and RAB3C expression profiles can serve as an independent prognostic factor in CRC and is associated with several clinicopathological parameters. In addition, the RAB3C–dystrophin axis is positively correlated with the phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate 3-kinase catalytic subunit alpha isoform (PIK3CA) genetic alterations in CRC patients. These findings can be used to provide novel combined therapeutic options for the treatment of CRC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)422-444
Number of pages23
JournalMolecular Oncology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2023


  • cannabinoid receptor type 2
  • colorectal cancer
  • drug resistance
  • dystrophin
  • Rab GTPase 3C


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