Numerous types of cancer cells migrate into extracellular tissues. This phenomenon is termed invasion, and is associated with poor prognosis in cancer patients. In this study, we demonstrated that filamin B (FLNb), an actin-binding protein, is highly expressed in cancer cell lines that exhibit high invasiveness, with a spindle morphology, into 3D collagen matrices. In addition, we determined that knockdown of FLNb in invasive cancer cells converts cell morphology from spindle-shaped, which is associated with high invasiveness, to round-shaped with low invasiveness. Furthermore, di-phosphorylation of myosin regulatory light chain (MRLC) and phosphorylation of focal adhesion kinase (FAK) are inhibited in FLNb-knockdown cancer cells. These results suggest that FLNb enhances invasion of cancer cells through phosphorylation of MRLC and FAK. Therefore, FLNb may be a new therapeutic target for invasive cancers.
The actin-cytoskeleton plays a critical role in various biological processes, including cell migration, development, tissue remodeling, and memory formation. Both extracellular and intracellular signals regulate reorganization of the actin-cytoskeleton to modulate tissue architecture and cellular morphology in a spatiotemporal manner. Since the discovery that activation of Rho family GTPases induces actin-cytoskeleton reorganization, the mode of action of Rho family GTPases has been extensively studied and individual effectors have been characterized. The actin-binding protein IQGAP1 was identified as an effector of Rac and Cdc42 and is the founding member of the IQGAP family with two additional isoforms. The IQGAP family shows conserved domain organization, and each member displays a specific expression pattern in mammalian tissues. IQGAPs regulate the actin-cytoskeleton alone and with their binding partners, thereby controlling diverse cellular processes, such as cell migration and adhesion. Here, we introduce IQGAPs as an actin-cytoskeleton regulator.
Gene editing methods were applied to the study of E-cadherin function in epithelial cells. The E-cadherin gene in epithelial DLD-1 cells was ablated using TALEN. The resultant cells showed round fibroblast-like morphology and had almost no Ca2+-dependent cell aggregation activity. E-cadherin re-expression in the knockout cells restored epithelial cell morphology and strong Ca2+-dependent cell-cell adhesion activity, indicating that the knockout cells retained the ability to support cadherin function. The knockout cells showed partial localization of desmoplakin and ZO-1 at intercellular contact sites. The transfectants expressing mutant E-cadherin lacking the cytoplasmic domain showed clear localization of desmoplakin and ZO-1 at cell-cell contact sites, although the cells had only weak Ca2+-dependent cell adhesion activity. Electron microscopy revealed the formation of intercellular junctions and apico-basal polarity in these cells. A portion of these cells occasionally formed an epithelial-like structure after prolonged culture. When the cells were treated with blebbistatin, the localization was enhanced. However, the localization was incomplete and contained defects. Double-knockout MDCK cells for the E-cadherin and cadherin-6 genes showed similar results, suggesting that the above properties were general. The present results showed that an epithelial-like structure could be formed without E-cadherin, but that the construction of mature epithelia requires E-cadherin.
Protein phosphorylation plays a key role in regulating nearly all intracellular biological events. However, poorly developed phospho-specific antibodies and low phosphoprotein abundance make it difficult to study phosphoproteins. Cellular protein phosphorylation data have been obtained using phosphoproteomic approaches, but the detection of low-abundance or fast-cycling phosphorylation sites remains a challenge. Enrichment of phosphoproteins together with phosphopeptides may greatly enhance the spectrum of low-abundance but biologically important phosphoproteins. Previously, we used 14-3-3ζ to selectively enrich for HeLa cell lysate phosphoproteins. However, because 14-3-3 does not isolate phosphoproteins lacking the 14-3-3-binding motif, we looked for other domains that could complementarily enrich for phosphoproteins. We here assessed and characterized the phosphoprotein binding domains Pin1-WW, CHEK2-FHA, and DLG1-GK. Using a strategy based on affinity chromatography, phosphoproteins were collected from the lysates of HeLa cells treated with phosphatase inhibitor or cAMP activator. We identified different subsets of phosphoproteins associated with WW or FHA after calyculin A, okadaic acid, or forskolin treatment. Our Kinase-Oriented Substrate Screening (KiOSS) method, which used phosphoprotein-binding domains, showed that WW and FHA are applicable and useful for the identification of novel phospho-substrates for kinases and can therefore be used as biological filters for comprehensive phosphoproteome analysis.